Calvin Shand can’t wait for the new season to get started after taking over as Musselburgh Athletic boss at the end of last term.
The former Hibs youth player has worked tirelessly over the summer break to bring in an entirely new squad with just one player signed when he took the reins from Stevie McLeish.
Shand was in pole position to take over at Olivebank from David McGlynn when he left for Bonnyrigg Rose two years ago but opted to remain at Hibs where he was coach of the under-17 side. That paved the way for McLeish to take over before he departed for Newtongrange Star in May. Shand spent last season as assistant to McGlynn in his first season in charge of Linlithgow Rose, but couldn’t refuse a return to the club where he ended his playing career.
“I probably regretted that [not taking the Musselburgh post two tears ago] and I always said to myself if the job came up again I would take it,” said Shand.
“I’m delighted to be back. It’s probably where I was happiest when I was playing. It’s a right good club and there are right good people about the place.”
Shand has brought in former Musselburgh midfielder Kevin McDonald as his assistant with the pair having known each other since their teenage years as Easter Road youngsters.
He admits it wasn’t ideal to build a new squad from scratch, with Jed Davie the only player remaining from last season, but is happy with the results.
A mix of youth and experience has been recruited including five players who were at Newtongrange last season – Kieron Renton, Gary Cherrie, John McManus, David Dunn and Matti King.
Shand, who has been charged with keeping Musselburgh in the Super League, said: “It was a difficult situation to come into especially only having one signed player. It was a wee bit of a challenge but, to be fair, I’m quite happy with the players we’ve brought in.
“It’s given me a chance to get my own boys in and it’s worked in my favour. We’ve got a right good bunch of boys, some with Super League experience and some younger boys who have really good ability – it’s a good balance.”
Three players who were crucial for Burgh last season have moved on. Top goalscorer Sean Jamieson has left for Bonnyrigg, while Jackie Myles has joined former boss McGlynn at Linlithgow while Steven Thomson earned a move to League Two Berwick Rangers.
Thomson is just one of a group of players who have secured an SPFL deal on the back of their exploits for Musselburgh and, although Shand doesn’t want players to leave, he believes his club can provide the perfect breeding ground for players to move up the ladder.
He added: “I want to try and make players better by coaching them as well as just taking a team. Kevin has got the same idea so we’ll try and help these players and make them better. Musselburgh is a really good platform for players to play and progress their careers.
“We don’t want to lose players but, if you can help some better their careers, it is half the battle.”