CHRIS MACKIE has been put in charge of Arthurlie for the rest of this season but he’s already making plans to stick around for longer.

The 31-year-old has not exactly been letting the grass grow under his feet since being handed the Barrhead club’s reins on an interim basis following the weekend resignation of erstwhile boss Stevie Kerrigan, however last night he took a break from four days of frenetic activity to reveal his intentions.

He said: “Keggs is a close friend and I’ve been aware that he wasn’t enjoying his football and had been thinking he’d run his race with the club.

“I felt for him as nobody could legislate for the many problems we’ve encountered with injuries and a horrendous spate of red cards this season.

“Nevertheless it was still a surprise when he messaged me on Saturday night following on from our 2-0 defeat by Beith to say he had decided to tender his resignation on the Sunday and my immediate reaction was to tell him to sleep on things overnight.

“We spoke in the morning and he was still of the mind to walk away despite my best attempts to persuade him otherwise but my determination to finish the job of restoring Arthurlie’s fortunes was as strong as ever and doubly so when Keggs gave me his blessing to apply for the manager’s post.

“And it was just typical of the man to give me his unequivocal backing when it came to informing club officials of his stepping down decision which resulted in me finding myself on Sunday evening being afforded an opportunity to present my ideas for taking the club forward.

“By that time my backroom team of Jimmy Lyndsay, Willie McCulloch and John Gemmell were all in place so it was a terrific feeling when Arthurlie’s club officials felt we should be given the chance to look after team affairs.

“The rest of Sunday night was spent telephoning every single player and their responses were very encouraging with everyone agreeing the time has come to roll up the sleeves and fight our corner.

“Keeping the club in the top flight this season is our primary aim over the coming months but I’d like to think we can show signs of building from that base.”

Mackie revealed his association with seasoned campaigner Lyndsay dates back all of 20 years to when he was signed as a promising 11-year-old by Albion Rovers.

He recalled: “I was an S-form signing and played under Jimmy’s wing until I was 18 and he then took me to Rob Roy when he was manager as well as signing me for playing stints out in Malta.

“He’s a fabulous coach with no shortage of innovative ideas and I’m sure the players are going to enjoy working with him and of course John Gemmell whose professional approach to training and games is second to none.

“Willie will concentrate on our goalkeepers so the backroom mix feels good and we cannot wait to get started.”

The postponement of Arthurlie’s scheduled fixture at home to Kilwinning Rangers this coming Saturday is to Mackie’s liking as he firmly intends to bed in his new management team.

He revealed: “We are going to put in a lot of hard work on the training ground and possibly throw in a couple of friendly matches to have us best prepared for our next competitive game against Kilbirnie Ladeside early in the New Year.

“Hopefully our injured pair of Gemmell (hamstring) and Scott Gair (knee) will have recovered by then because we are handicapped as it is with suspensions ruling out Gary Smith, Ryan Deas and Graham Girvan.

Meanwhile, yet another managerial vacancy has come to light at Central Second Division outfit Gartcairn after this week’s parting of the ways with previous hotseat incumbent Gerry Bonham.

Saturday’s 4-1 defeat by league leaders Glasgow Perthshire proved the last straw for club officials who are inviting applications even though terracing whispers are already linking former Irvine Meadow and Blantyre Vics gaffer David Greig and current Shotts Bon Accord manager Kieron McGuinness with the vacant post.

Greig, out of the Junior scene since the end of last season, was spotted on the Keppoch Park terracings but claims his presence there was purely coincidental.

He insisted: “I had no inclination of any managerial changes taking place at Gartcairn and I’d imagine there wouldn’t have been any had they not come up against a very good Shire team.

“I have not spoken with anyone at Gartcairn but it is no secret that I want to get back in the Junior game.”