STEVIE SWIFT’S belief that Kilbirnie Ladeside should be a force in Junior football and challenging for the major prizes every year has led to him resigning as manager of the Ayrshire club.

He brought a rollercoaster five-year tenure to an end in the wake of Saturday’s 2-0 reverse at home to league leaders Rob Roy … a disappointing defeat that leaves the Blasties sitting second bottom of the standings with just five points from their opening seven Super Premier Division fixtures.

Yet his decision to quit is doubly perplexing given only five weeks have elapsed since Swifty steered Kilbirnie to a first silverware success in six years through their outstanding 1-0 Ardagh Glass Cup Final victory over Auchinleck Talbot and the intervening period has seen his playing charges rack up their first league win of the season with a 5-0 hammering of Largs Thistle.

However, losing out to Rob Roy on the rebound from an inglorious Scottish Junior Cup third round exit at the hands of Banks O’Dee was the final straw for former Scotland Junior internationalist defender who like others of his ilk has discovered there is little about playing at the highest level of the game that helps you in management.

The 36-year-old will forever have dressing room credibility thanks to his memorable stints with Benburb, Linlithgow Rose, Irvine Meadow and Pollok, however motivating players and getting them to buy into what you tell them are even more crucial factors in terms of bringing results.

He insisted: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience and of course the honour of managing Kilbirnie Ladeside but after a lot of deliberation I feel it is in the club’s best interest that I stand aside and let a new man take up the helm.

“Why do I say that? Well I have never stinted in my backing for the ability and character of the players at the club but this season my approach and methods don’t appear to be getting the best out of them so I’m hoping a change of manager will do the trick.

“The very idea of giving up the post is not to my liking especially finishing on a negative but most of all I will have regrets over walking away on the many good friendships built up over the past five years.

“The club officials, particularly our match secretary Gordon Ronney have given me great backing as have Kilbirnie’s fabulous supporters and I just hope everyone can come together now to help the club move upwards and onwards.

“We have enjoyed a lot of good times, most notably finishing third top of the Super Premier last season which is Kilbirnie’s highest ever ranking and looking back I feel this club is in a better place than they were when I joined with Mark Crilly.

“It is my intention to stay involved in the game but right now I’m planning nothing more than a break away to spend time with my wife and family.”

The rumour mongers were hard at work on social media outlets yesterday linking former Irvine Meadow boss Stevie Rankin and ex-Blasties fans favourite Hughie Houston with the vacant managerial chair, however leading Ladeside official Ronney gave no indication of having someone in mind when he contacted the Evening Times yesterday with the following written statement...

“Following the departure of manager Stephen Swift, Kilbirnie Ladeside Football Club are inviting applications for the position of team manager. Interested parties should submit applications/CV’s to match secretary Gordon Ronney, Habost, Duchal Road, Kilmacolm, PA13 4AS, or alternatively at (07889 403 298).

Kilbirnie will undoubtedly be looking to make a quick appointment, however they have made plans to buy time by asking club captain Ciaran Donnelly and injured stopper Mick O’Byrne to oversee training and team affairs for this week’s Valefield encounter against Cumnock.

Meanwhile, movements on the playing front have seen Shettleston fix up 21-year-old frontman Jamie Watson on loan from Clyde while Arthurlie have offloaded transfer-listed striker Darren Gribben to Broxburn Athletic and replaced him with John Gemmell from Hurlford United.

And one hears the commencement of pitch resurfacing works at New Petershill Park has led to Petershill moving this week’s Scottish Junior Cup clash with Carnoustie Panmure to McKenna Park in Govan.


(Kick-offs 1.45pm)

Scottish Junior Cup third round: East Kilbride Thistle v Culter, Kirrie Thistle v Hill of Beath, Kilsyth Rangers v Lochgelly Albert, Penicuik Athletic v Scone Thistle, Haddington Athletic v Neilston, Blackburn Utd v Girvan, Thorniewood Utd v Bonnyrigg Rose, Stonehaven v Greenock, Luncarty v Rosyth Juniors, Dundee Violet v Glenafton, Dundee North End v Linlithgow Rose, Glasgow Perthshire v Rob Roy, Petershill v Carnoustie Panmure, Banks o’ Dee v Sauchie, Renfrew v Arniston Rangers, Dufftown v Dunbar Utd, Gartcairn v Whitburn, Lochee Utd v Musselburgh Athletic, Maybole v Benburb, Maryhill v Forth, Blantyre Vics v Bo’ness United, Darvel v Irvine Meadow, Irvine Vics v Carluke Rovers, Larkhall Thistle v Fauldhouse Utd, Kilwinning Rangers v Shettleston, Beith v Islavale, Downfield v Broughty Athletic, Kelty Hearts v Ashfield, Pollok v Auchinleck Talbot, Edinburgh Utd v Maud, Jeanfield Swifts v Hermes, Cumbernauld Utd v Tranent.

New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup first round: Dunipace v Lanark Utd. Super Premier Division: Largs Thistle v Troon, Arthurlie v Hurlford Utd, Kilbirnie Ladeside v Cumnock. Super First Division: Shotts Bon Accord v Clydebank, Yoker Athletic v Rutherglen Glencairn. Central First Division: Lesmahagow v Bellshill Athletic, Vale of Clyde v Cambuslang Rangers, Wishaw v Rossvale, St Roch's v Johnstone Burgh. Central Second Division: Port Glasgow v St Anthony's, Newmains Utd v Vale of Leven. Ayrshire District League: Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Lugar Boswell, Annbank Utd v Kello Rovers, Ardeer Thistle v Saltcoats Vics, Dalry Thistle v Whitletts Vics, Craigmark v Muirkirk.