A stunned Motherwell board are seeking a new manager and sanctions against Aberdeen after Craig Brown resigned just 24 hours after pledging his continued allegiance.

The former Scotland manager and assistant Archie Knox are set to be appointed by Aberdeen before their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash against Hearts on Saturday following a dramatic U-turn.

"We are surprised and disappointed by the decision of our management team to leave the club at this time and in this way," read a statement from Motherwell. "But it is not in our ethos as a club to stand in anyone's way."

The statement continued: "We also have far too much respect for Craig and Archie and what they have achieved in the game to do anything other than wish them happiness in what they are setting out to do and to thank them for their efforts in the last year.

"It is very difficult to understand their decision but we must respect it.

"We have done absolutely everything we could to keep them and to support their personal ambitions and demands for a bigger player budget."

Motherwell announced on Wednesday that their management team were staying despite holding talks with Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne.

Brown insisted he only met Milne "out of courtesy" while stressing it would be a huge wrench to leave Fir Park.

But, with strikers Nick Blackman and Alan Gow out of contract next month, he also appealed for funds to at least maintain the strength of his squad, and clearly was not satisfied with the response.

Brown rejoined Motherwell less than 12 months ago, initially on an interim basis following the sacking of Jim Gannon, and looked set to finish his coaching career where it began in 1974. Instead the 70-year-old has swapped the challenge of securing Motherwell's fourth successive European adventure for an immediate fight at the bottom of the SPL.

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