ROBERT DOWNS has left Arthurlie with the perfect going away present of a place in today’s ETHXenergy Scottish Junior Cup fifth round draw.

The Barrhead team boss … just two weeks short of a year at the helm … was in charge at Saturday’s last 32 victory over Wishaw despite having sensationally tendered his resignation to club officials on the eve of the game.

Somewhat emotional dressing room scenes were said to have ensued after the final whistle as Downsy informed the players of his quit decision and his last-ever post-match summation as Arthurlie manager hinted strongly at some of the contributory reasons behind his departure decision.

“Wishaw played good football in spells but I thought we won comfortably yet without playing anywhere near our best,” said the former Scotland Junior internationalist in the aftermath.

Gary Smith with a double, Chris Dallas and an own goal from a deflected Eddie McTernan cross helped the Lie run out 4-1 winners to ensure their name goes into the hat (along with 10 other West Region sides albeit Irvine Meadow could drop out if they lose their fourth round replay at home to Linlithgow Rose) when Glasgow City Council host the draw in the grand surroundings of the City Chambers.

Last night an unrepentant and honest to a fault Downsy admitted: “There’s no single reason for me walking out the door, but it has to be said that I don’t consider myself to have made the best fist possible of managing Arthurlie and I’m not deriving any enjoyment from what should be a dream job.

“And neither am I getting the best out of the players at the club and this rankles with me most of all as I truly feel the guys are capable of picking up some of the game’s big prizes as they did last season when winning the West of Scotland Cup.

“That achievement sits as one of my best in the Juniors so I owe the players a massive thanks as well as the supporters for their backing and not forgetting Arthurlie’s club officials who gave me the opportunity to become manager of their team and have not put me under any pressure whatsoever.

“That’s why it feels like I’m letting them down by resigning now yet these regrets pale when I think about three players Gary Wild, Ryan Clark and goalkeeper Connor O’Boyle whom I’ve persuaded to come on board in the past few weeks.

“They can derive some consolation from knowing they have joined a terrific Junior club and the two youngsters Ryan and Connor could not have asked for a better grounding in the game at this level.”

The former striker went on to hint at the mix of football, family and work commitments coming into his resignation thoughts.

He said: “I’ve always felt a good Junior manager has to be out at least one night each week taking in games to look at prospective signings, but I found it a huge ask on top of two training nights and I’ve struggled to find the time.

“I can only speak highly of Arthurlie which made me question whether I was doing the right thing but I was even more sure after sleeping over it and what better to step aside than when few if any are needed to get the club moving upward.”

Arthurlie officials wasted no time in coming up with a hotseat replacement after appointing former coach Stevie Kerrigan as their new manager on Sunday.

The 43-year-old who previously enjoyed a short-lived Dunterlie stint when Craig McEwan took up the reins for all of 11 games will be assisted by goalkeeping coach Willie McCulloch in the interim until he brings in a No.2.

Keggs revealed: “I’m still reeling from the speed of events which saw me speak with Arthurlie folk on Saturday night and then be offered the job less than 24 hours later.

“If truth be told, I didn’t hesitate to accept the post not least because I am aware of the club’s potential as well as having an insider knowledge of the vast majority of the players and what they bring to the table.

“I’m already looking forward to meeting up with everyone this week however taking charge of my first game will need to go on hold as I have prior commitments for this Saturday when we take on Craigmark in the West of Scotland Cup.

He added: “The situation is not to my liking but I’ll do my best to prepare the players for the game and rely on them doing the hard bit.”


(Kick-offs 1.45 PM)

ETHXenergy Scottish Junior Cup fourth round: Camelon v Dundee North End, Glenrothes v Hermes.

Fourth round replays: Irvine Meadow v Linlithgow Rose.

New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup second round: Craigmark v Arthurlie. Super Premier Division: Beith v Rob Roy, Glenafton v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Shettleston v Petershill, Troon v Hurlford Utd, Pollok v Auchinleck Talbot. Super First Division: Kilwinning Rangers v Greenock, Bellshill Athletic v Shotts Bon Accord, Blantyre Vics v Clydebank, Yoker v Largs Thistle, Cumbernauld Utd v Winton Rovers, Maybole v Cumnock, Kilsyth Rangers v Rutherglen Glencairn. Central First Division: Dunipace v St Anthony's, St Roch's v Renfrew, Lesmahagow v Vale of Clyde, Wishaw v Larkhall Thistle, Rossvale v Johnstone Burgh, Neilston v Carluke Rovers, Maryhill v Thorniewood Utd. Central Second Division: Vale of Leven v Lanark Utd, Newmains Utd v Ashfield, Forth v Cambuslang Rangers, East Kilbride Thistle v Port Glasgow, Royal Albert v Benburb, Gartcairn v Glasgow Perthshire. Ayrshire District League: Annbank Utd v Dalry Thistle, Saltcoats Vics v Irvine Vics, Whitletts Vics v Ardeer Thistle, Girvan v Darvel, Lugar Boswell v Kello Rovers.