ARDROSSAN Winton Rovers manager Sandy MacLean has stunned club officials by tendering his resignation just five weeks into the new Junior season and with the Winton yet to reach double figures in games played.

Seasoned gaffer Sandy who has held the reins at a total of five Junior clubs (eight if one takes into account three separate stints in charge of Largs Thistle) quit his post on Sunday a matter of 24 hours after his side succumbed to a 5-2 Ayrshire District League mauling at the hands of Maybole.

The dismal performance did not leave Sandy best pleased, however he categorically denied he had decided to jump ship with promotion tips Winton sitting fifth from bottom in the standings and some six points behind the leading pack of clubs.

He insisted: “It’s probably true to say my decision to walk away was down to a combination of factors rather than any one particular reason.

“There’s no disguising the fact our display away to Maybole was unacceptable in my book and what really got under my skin was simple instructions not been carried out by players on the day.

“And another issue that has been preying on my mind is three players…Eddie Walton, Ross Cairns and Dylan McLaughlin turning their back on Ardrossan Winton Rovers after I had convinced our officials to find the funds bring them here to be the bulwarks of our side going forward.

“Losing guys of their experience and quality has hit us hard in terms of results with big Eddie’s departure to Port Glasgow leaving a vacuum that has been difficult to fill and it did feel as if I had let down a lot of people.

“Normally I’m a strong enough character to handle rough times with the smooth but my own enthusiasm for football has been dented by the recent death of my brother and I consider my priorities as this moment in time are with my family.

“My mind has been in turmoil and I cannot help but think it is time to stand aside and let someone fresh come into what is primarily a new dressing room as only Bobby Colligan remains from the 20-man playing squad I inherited.”

The renowned ex-goalkeeper laughed at the suggestion he had been shown the door by Ardrossan club officials.

He said: “It’s been my privilege to have been manager of this club and to see the work of the people behind the scenes at Winton Park.

“They have backed me to the hilt and must rank as one of the best Junior committees in the game…they certainly are the finest in my experiences and whosoever eventually takes over from myself is going to be one lucky guy.

“I leave with a very heavy heart but deep down it’s the right thing for me and even more importantly the right thing for Ardrossan Winton Rovers.”

Also on the move is one of Sandy’s former Barrfields playing charges James “Slick” Marks who has been placed on the open to transfer list at Hurlford United after growing disenchanted with his lack of starting appearances.

United boss Darren Henderson revealed: “James is a great guy and for the record there’s been no fall-out between us, however he wants to be playing more regularly after being first choice striker at Largs for countless years .

“He only arrived here in the summer months but I can understand his wanting away reasons and we will not put up too many barriers to him landing a club.”

Yet another close season transfer that has not gone according to plan is Beith’s capture of classy Arthurlie defender Mark Blakey whose slipping down the pecking order with the Super Premier Division leading lights has led to him being placed on the transfer list at his own request.

Meanwhile, in demand Cambuslang Rangers striker Liam Gormley’s move to Rutherglen Glencairn got away to a dream start on Saturday when the one-time Celtic Youths prospect netted a brace of goals as Willie Harvey’s men found their scoring touch to hammer Kilsyth Rangers by a 5-1 scoreline.

Also on the scoresheet were Jamie Hamilton (2) and buzz bomb frontman Jay Mackay whom Cambuslang reputedly attempted to obtain in a swap deal for Gormley only for Harvey to turn them down.


(Kick-offs 2pm) Super Premier Division: Glenafton v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Hurlford Utd v Cumnock, Beith v Auchinleck Talbot, Clydebank v Arthurlie, Kilwinning Rangers v Girvan, Rob Roy v Pollok. Super First Division: Kilsyth Rangers v Cumbernauld Utd, Cambuslang Rangers v Kello Rovers, Renfrew v Maryhill, Petershill v Troon, Darvel v Irvine Meadow, Larkhall Thistle v Rutherglen Glencairn, Largs Thistle v Shettleston. Central First Division: East Kilbride Thistle v Forth Wanderers, Lesmahagow v Neilston, St Rochs v Port Glasgow, Glasgow Perthshire v Shotts Bon Accord, Blantyre Vics v Rossvale,Thorniewood Utd v Wishaw, Benburb v Greenock. Central Second Division: Lanark Utd v Carluke Rovers, Royal Albert v Newmains Utd, Vale of Clyde v St Anthony's, Bellshill Athletic v Johnstone Burgh, Ashfield v Vale of Leven, Dunipace v Gartcairn. Ayrshire District Division: Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Whitletts Vics, Lugar Boswell v Maybole, Saltcoats Vics v Dalry Thistle, Ardeer Thistle v Annbank Utd, Irvine Vics v Craigmark.