TOP-FLIGHT Shettleston are ready to gatecrash the elite of the junior game after pulling off a stunning double management swoop.

The east end club have tempted Annan Athletic duo Peter Weatherson and Ryan McStay to Greenfield Park, where they will join current caretaker boss Rio Juskowiak in running all team affairs as of next season.

Long-time team manager Hugh Kelly has stepped up to chief executive and will continue to oversee both the football club and social club.

It’s a massive step for Town, and Kelly is hoping it pays dividends in the long run.

He told Times Sport: “Peter, Ryan and Rio will be in charge of running the football team next season. It’s a bold move by the club, but a very exciting one.

“They will be in charge of team selection, new signings and training, and it’s hoped this move will also trigger a few more top signings in the coming months. I fully expect us to be competing on all fronts next season with the calibre of playing we’re looking to bring in.”

Englishman Weatherson, who is 35, has played more than 600 games for Queen of the South, Morton and Annan – and scored over 200 goals despite playing many games in defence.

Ryan McStay numbers Partick Thistle, Falkirk and Dumbarton among his clubs, while he dipped his toes into the junior game briefly with Irvine Meadow.

But Kelly revealed how things were getting on top of him at the club, to the extent that remaining as team boss became an impossibility.

He said: “We’ve also started up a kids’ academy, which is going really well, but that just added to the workload.

“It had been my intention to quit as manager at the end of last season but I was talked into staying on for another year, although it all started to get a bit too much.

“I’d spoken to Rio about taking over at the end of this season, and he had started taking training, but I turned up for a recent match against Kilbirnie and I just wasn’t prepared, so I knew then that something had to give. Rio stepped straight into the roll and he’s won his last two games.

“This frees me up to work hard to get funds in place to get the ground up to scratch and a new playing surface in. I’m also trying to run my businesses, so everything has taken its toll.”

These are exciting times for Shettleston, and Kelly is also hoping that Clyde will take up an offer to move to Greenfield Park.

Kelly explained: “We play Auchinleck Talbot tomorrow and everyone is looking forward to it, but another reason I stepped down is because I don’t just want to be playing against the Talbots of the world – I want to be beating them.

“We have got big plans for the club and the introduction of Peter and Ryan is just the start of that.

“I’m desperate to get the park finished but that’s stalled at the moment because I’m waiting to hear if Clyde are going to be ground-sharing with us. If they are, then obviously the ground has to be up to a certain standard.

“That’s something I would like to see happen as I believe it would give us all a big boost. If it comes off we would have clubs at senior, junior and youth level based at Greenfield Park.

“To achieve this, I had to take a step back from the playing side. The top league in the juniors is as professional as it gets. I’ve never been involved in the professional scene but I would be surprised if it’s any harder.

“I believe Clyde could double their crowds if they came to Shettleston and that would be a win-win situation for everyone.”

That might be for the future, but the here and now sees junior giants Talbot visit Greenfield tomorrow, and Kelly said: “We played them at their place on the opening day of the season and there wasn’t an awful lot between the sides. In fact, the only difference was probably Mark Campbell, the big centre-half, he was outstanding.

“They don’t have him now so that’s bound to affect them. Don’t get me wrong, they are still a top side, but he was a big player for them. A few decisions went against us that day, at 0-0, which could easily have turned the tide in our favour.

“From the start of the season it has been all about staying up for us. We are mid-table, and would like to consolidate, before hopefully putting our plans in place and trying to kick-on and become even stronger.

“I’ve learned that if you want to be successful in the top league then things have to be just as right off the park as they are on it. You look at Auchinleck and they have a fantastic committee who run the club like a finely tuned engine.

“That’s what we have to achieve here to be a top club. Things haven’t always been right off the park at Shettleston, which is why I had to take a step back to try and sort it out.”