Gary Aitchison resigns from Craigroyston

Gary Aitchison.  Pic: Ian Rutherford
Gary Aitchison. Pic: Ian Rutherford
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Craigroyston are looking for their third manager this season after Gary Aitchison tendered his resignation in the wake of Friday evening’s 1-0 defeat by Spartans EOS.

The former East of Scotland Select manager was appointed as successor to Tom Hendrie at the end of August, but results have not improved significantly since then with only two wins out of 12 league games leaving the St Mark’s Park club second from bottom of The Central Taxis Premier Division with nine points.

There appeared to be a glimmer of hope following a 2-1 victory at reigning champions Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale at the end of November, but Friday night’s defeat at Ainslie Park proved to be the last straw for Aitchison and both he and his assistant Andy Jack tendered their resignations to the Craigroyston committee on Saturday morning.

“I felt it was the right thing to do because results haven’t been great and I take full responsibility for that,” reflected Aitchison.

“Both myself and Andy felt that with nine or ten league games left to go, there is still time for someone to come in and help get the results back on track. The club have a two-week break before their next game against Civil Service Strollers and that gives the committee the right amount of time to look for a replacement.”

Aitchison added that he had no regrets about leaving the East of Scotland Select role to take up the reigns at Craigroyston.

“It’s a good club with good people, I know the club very well having worked here already and the boys were working very hard in training but it was difficult for me to bring in new faces when a lot of players were under contract elsewhere or simply didn’t want to commit. But I enjoyed the role, and I wish my successor all the best.”

Aitchison took charge for the last time on Friday evening and watched his side lose out to a goal from the in-form Davy Stewart who has now scored eight goals in four of Spartans last five matches.

Alex Cunningham’s men could count themselves unfortunate not to have increased their lead on the night with Stewart hitting the bar, Brad Raiker hitting the post and former Craigroyston player Kyle Bogie having a goal ruled out for offside, the visitors having Steven Togneri sent off late on to compound their misery.

In other weekend action, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale went to the top of the table after a fantastic 3-0 win at fellow title rivals Leith Athletic.

Kevin Twaddle’s side cruised to victory at Meadowbank 3G thanks to goals from Scott Moffat, Sean Wringe and a superb long-distance strike from Connor McGregor.

“It was a fantastic performance from the boys against a very good Leith side. Connor McGregor, Callum Connolly and Sean Wringe were in fantastic form and Connor’s goal was probably the best goal I’ve seen scored at East of Scotland level,” said Twaddle.

There was also a solid win for Civil Service Strollers as they defeated Tynecastle 5-1 at Edinburgh College Sportsground with goals coming from Chris Rooney, Kieran McGachie, Gavin Pettigrew and a brace from James Guy. Jamie Devlin netted a consolation penalty for the visitors.

First Division

Ormiston recovered from the loss of two early goals to claim a 4-3 victory at Burntisland Shipyard and move to within three points of league leaders Peebles Rovers.

In the only game to survive the weather in The Central Taxis First Division at the weekend, Brian Johnston’s side fell behind to early goals from JP McPhail and Kevin Masson.

Craig Wojtowycz – a recent signing from Haddington Athletic – brought the visitors back into the game with a penalty just before half-time, and George Cunningham equalised on 59 minutes.

Quick-fire goals from Cunningham and Liam Skinner within the space of three minutes put the visitors two goals ahead, and although Dale Robertson netted a third goal for the Fifers with minutes to spare, the East Lothian men held on for an important victory.

“I’m delighted with the result and the application of the players,” said Johnston afterwards. “I thought George Cunningham was our man of the match, and to show the character that we did from having lost the two early goals was fantastic.”