VALE OF CLYDE manager Ian Currie has been left devastated after losing hitman Scott McManus just two weeks before the season starts.

Clyde gaffer and former Rangers and Scotland star Barry Ferguson swooped to sign the Tin Pail striker on a two-year deal after he bagged a superb hat-trick in a trial outing for the SPFL League Two side.

Currie is delighted at the player's step up to the Senior ranks, but he could not hide his disappointment over the unfortunate timing of his departure.

He insisted: "Scott has undoubtedly earned his chance with a string of outstanding performances over the past couple of seasons. Scott has clearly made the best of his trial opportunity and has been rewarded with a two-year contract as a result.

"He's a smashing lad and leaves with the best wishes of everyone at the Vale, but I'm now landed with the unbelievable headache of trying to unearth a similar diamond just two weeks before the season kicks off in earnest.

"Trying to find someone of his ability capable of providing 30 goals per season borders on the impossible but the hunt is on as of now."

Currie had only just applied the finishing touches to his Tin Pail squad numbers ahead of his promoted side's Central First Division campaign.

He added: "Hayden Cochrane, our one-time Celtic midfielder, is finally showing signs of fitness after coming through a full pre-season and we were excited about the prospect of him forming an engine-room partnership with Connor Stevenson to provide the ammunition for Scott and our other front players.

"Clyde's approach is forcing a rethink and we need to come up with answers ... and fast."

McManus is overjoyed to get a second crack at the Seniors after an uneventful playing stint with Stenhousemuir earlier in his carrer.

The 24-year-old said: "Vale of Clyde and big Ian have been tremendous in helping my career and it's a huge wrench to leave them, but this Clyde opportunity is too good to turn down.

"I was committed to staying with the gaffer should another Junior club make a signing bid, and he equally promised me the Vale would not stand in my way if Senior sides came calling.

"And he has kept his word, even though Bob Malcolm's telephone call came when our preparations for the new season were all but concluded.

"I've loved being involved at Clyde and settling in has been easy as I know a number of their players, including Ryan Francis.

"Our experiences show that any young player coming into the game can do themselves a favour by putting their faith in Vale of Clyde and Ian Currie to help them up the football ladder."

Meanwhile, Scottish Cup winners Hurlford United have signed left-sided midfielder Ross Chisholm, who previously played with Arbroath and Hibs.

Kilmarnock-based Chisholm racked up 32 appearances for the Red Lichties in League One last season and is only the second close-season addition to Hurlford's playing ranks following the acquisition of Cumnock and Scotland centre-back Chris Robertson.

Ford boss Darren Henderson said: "Most of the last season's pool re-signed so our not having a pressing need to tinker with our squad means we have been very selective when it comes to bringing players on board.

"Ross fits the bill perfectly as someone who played over 40 first-team games for Hibs and I fancy he will prove his worth."

One United player released over the summer - goalkeeper Chris Calder - has been training with Super Premier new boys Shotts.