YOKER Athletic’s new gaffer Steven Reilly has admitted he was on the brink of departing the Super First Division outfit before being offered the Holm Park reins.

A lack of managerial experience did not dissuade club officials from turning to experienced Whe Ho campaigner Reilly in the wake of previous team boss John McAulay tendering his resignation earlier this month, citing pressure of work commitments as the reason for stepping down.

One-time Motherwell and Queen's Park centre-back Steph, who can also lay claim to the unique distinction of having played trials for Real Madrid, was caught unawares by his club’s approach.

However, he agreed to take up the hotseat post - even though it meant going back on a promise to join Lowland League outfit Broomhill S.C.

And he has wasted no time in putting down strong dugout foundations by bringing in ex-Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock and Dunfermline midfielder Martin Hardie as well as former Goldenhill Under 21’s coach Graeme George - a nephew of legendary Junior boss Jim - to form his backroom team.

The 33-year-old said: "The job offer was a bit of a surprise particularly as everything was in place for me to play for Broomhill next season as well as working with their Under 20’s side and being put through my coaching badges.

“I have wanted to progress into coaching and management so getting this opportunity at Yoker was just too good to turn down, though I did sleep on things for 24 hours before deciding to give it a go.

“It also helped make my mind up that Martin and Graeme were throwing in their lot with me while another crucial factor was being able to persuade John Harvey, Craig Winslow and Greg Maitland to sign new contracts and remain at Yoker.

“They are top quality players and as such were being actively pursued by a number of Super Premier clubs throughout the summer months so their deciding to stay on board is a major boost to our team plans which are progressing nicely.

“The acquisitions of a couple of outstanding Goldenhill Boys talents in midfielders Shaun Gallagher and Richard Henry as well as goalkeeping prospect Liam Campbell from Clydebank brings us up to a healthy 18-man strong playing squad.”

It’s envisaged the new backroom team’s combined array of footballing contacts will bring about further dressing room arrivals.

However, the crying need for an experienced backbone has caused Steff to put pen-to-paper in order to operate in a player/manager capacity while the seasoned Hardie has likewise signed on the dotted line.

The team boss added: “It was always my intention to continue playing in the knowledge that two dependable types would be calling the shots from the sidelines so for that very reason, I do not reckon there will be too many occasions when both Martin and I figure in our starting line-up.

“He still keeps himself very fit and can still do a job on the pitch and it’s a real source of comfort to know his physicality and goalscoring prowess can be called upon on those occasions when needs must.”

Reilly’s appointment was hailed by outgoing boss McAulay with the former Stirling Albion full-back saying, "Initially my plan was for Steff to step up as my assistant given that John Dillon had intimated he was departing the scene through family commitments.

“But then my own work situation changed and the likelihood of me missing training sessions and some Saturdays made me opt to stand aside as a clean break would be in everyone’s best interests.

“I did offer my opinion to our officials that Steff would be an ideal candidate and I’ve every confidence in him doing a smashing job and taking the team forward in the season ahead.”

Reilly is one of seven new managerial appointments of the close season along with Robert Docherty (Ashfield), David Lilley (Bellshill Athletic), Paul McColl (Cambuslang Rangers), Alan Moffat (Dunipace), Jim Delaney (Maryhill) and George Grierson (Muirkirk).

On the transfer front comes news of Shotts Bon Accord beefing up their ranks with the additions of ex-Senior centre-backs Josh Louden (Airdrie) and Matty McGuire (Albion Rovers) as well as showing an interest in former Rob Roy defender Martin Brogan whose availability is attracting the attention of Cumnock.

Another trio of Rabs players have reputedly moved on to pastures new after Kenny Jarvis joined St Roch's on top of promising youngster Thomas Collins signing for Beith and Blantyre Vics fixing up winger Ryan Tiffaney.