Charlie Mulgrew said the fact Rovers accepted Wigan’s loan bid on deadline day showed him the time was right to move on.

It was something of a shock the 33-year-old was allowed to leave in the final hours of the window with the club captain having started the opening day defeat to Charlton.

But the return to fitness of Derrick Williams, as well as Rovers’ own late deadline day move to bring in Greg Cunningham, pushed the central defender down the pecking order at Ewood Park.

Mulgrew said he spoke with Rovers boss Tony Mowbray on the morning of August 8 and was made aware of Wigan’s interest at 3pm, two hours before the deadline.

The move wasn’t officially ratified until the following morning, but despite getting lost on the way to the Latics’ training ground, the necessary paperwork was filed before the deadline.

“It all just happened last minute. It came out the blue and it was a shock,” Mulgrew told the Scottish press.

“I spoke to the manager, Tony Mowbray, we had a discussion and then that afternoon Wigan came in.

“I was sitting in Starbucks at 3pm with Paul Caddis and I got a phone call about it.

“It all just happened so quickly and, funnily enough, my battery ran out on the way to the Wigan training ground.

“I didn’t have a phone and I didn’t have the postcode — so I was asking people where the training ground was.

“It was so old-school. I ended up asking three people how to get there.

“One sent me the wrong way, but eventually three wee boys put me back on track and sent me the other way.

“It was down a wee dirt road and it was hard to find, but the secretary was out on the road and flagged me in.

“I ended up signing with a minute to go and it still wasn’t cleared until the next morning. The FA have to go through all the deals, so it was a bit mental.

“But those lads sorted me out, so I’ll go in for a carry-out for them next time I see them.”

Scotland host Russia on Friday and then Belgium on Monday in a Euro 2020 qualifying double-header.

Scott McKenna, Stuart Findlay, John Souttar and Grant Hanley are all ruled out with injury, meaning Mulgrew is expected to be part of Steve Clarke’s starting XI in the next two matches.

He only signed a new two-and-a-half year deal at Rovers last November, but lost his place in the final six weeks of last season as the Darragh Lenihan and Williams partnership finished the season well.

Tosin Adarabioyo was brought in on loan from Manchester City, while Williams had expressed a desire to focus his attentions on central defence, something the arrival of Cunningham has allowed him to do.

Mulgrew has been a regular for his country during his time at Rovers, which included captaining them under former boss Alex McLeish. But he says the opportunity of more game-time, rather than his international career, were more his focus when deciding to make the switch to Wigan where he made his league debut in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Barnsley.

“Scotland is always on your mind, but it happened that quickly I never really had time to think about anything,” Mulgrew added.

“The fact that it was accepted told me it was probably for the best that I went and gave my all for Wigan.

“I didn’t need to move house and there’s no big upheaval.

“It’s a chance for me to go and play some football and help Wigan if I can.

“I’m happy, it’s great and I’m really looking forward to it.”