The 54-year-old, who had spells in charge of English clubs Reading, Leicester, Wolves, Millwall and Brighton, has been out of management since leaving Aberdeen in December 2010.

McGhee, who has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract, takes charge of a Pirates side that is currently 18th in the table and succeeds Paul Buckle, who was sacked following a 2-0 defeat at Barnet at the start of the month.

"Over time the minimum they should expect is not to be in this division," McGhee said.

"Even in their present form they should consider themselves capable of being in at least the First Division.

"Beyond that the coming of a new stadium will hopefully bring even greater times. That's a part of why I'm here - I see a project, it's not just a case of me coming here and firefighting. There's a future here.

"There's a really exciting future possibly for the club and I'm delighted to be a part of it."

Chairman Nick Higgs was delighted to get his man, insisting McGhee was "streets ahead" of any other candidate.

"I think we're very fortunate to have Mark here. The calibre of candidates we had this time even excelled the calibre we had last time, but Mark was streets ahead of anybody else," he said.

"If you were fortunate enough to attend the interviews that we had, we finally had three candidates out of a shortlist of a number and Mark sold himself very, very well.

"He showed that he's not coming here for just a stepping stone to get back into his career, he wants to come and rebuild the club and go forward.

"We've reached a low ebb and we need to move forward and it was a very impressive interview.

"I liked what I heard about his training regimes and the way he conducts non-matchdays with players and I thought it was incredibly impressive."