Whitehill have been handed a major boost ahead of their final league fixture of the season after talisman Wayne McIntosh agreed to stay on for another year at Ferguson Park.
The Rosewell club’s top scorer had been the subject of interest from senior clubs.
However, he has opted instead to stay put and try and help Mickey Lawson’s side challenge for promotion to SPFL 2 next season.
The 32-goal hitman, who is suspended for tomorrow’s campaign-ending home clash with Gretna 2008, said: “I’ve signed up for another season so I’m really happy to have got that all sorted.
“I like the club and I’ve been around it for a few years on and off. I like all the guys and the committee so that’s always a plus and we’re going the right way.”
Whitehill, by their own expectations, have probably underachieved this season, with last year’s East of Scotland champions suffering surprise defeats at the hands of lowly pair Gala Fairydean Rovers and Selkirk. Indeed that was the latter side’s only league triumph of the season.
However, McIntosh, 28, takes heart from his team’s near impeccable form since the turn of the year, where they have won 13 of their 15 league and cup matches contested, including victories over Spartans and Berwick Rangers in the final of the Image Printers East of Scotland Qualifying Cup and City Cup respectively.
McIntosh said: “We’ve not won the league this year but we’ve won two cups and we’re in the quarter-finals of the King Cup. If we can finish second in the table then that would be a great achievement because we can get a bye into the second round of the Scottish Cup next season.
“We’ve lost just once since Christmas time so we know where we’ve gone wrong.
“No disrespect to teams like Selkirk and Gala but we shouldn’t be losing to those sides and those matches alone have cost us six points. Spartans have deserved it because they have been the most consistent over the course of the season and that’s why they’re worthy winners. In my eyes I think it has been a successful season for ourselves but if you were to ask Mickey then he’d say we’ve underachieved.”
McIntosh has formed a formidable alliance in attack this season with strike partner Aaron Somerville, with a combined 54 goals between the two marking them out as the most prolific pairing in the league.
The former Lothian Thistle forward believes the club will be in a position to challenge for league honours next season and an opportunity of promotion to SPFL League 2.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with my goals this season and that’s why the committee were keen to try and get me signed with the contract.
“They know what they get with me. I’m here to score goals and I’ve done that basically every club I’ve been at.
“I’ve scored 32 goals this year and I’m also top of the assists so I’m laying on a lot as well. But I wouldn’t have scored half these goals if there hadn’t been that input from the rest of the boys.
“I think we’ll have a wee chance next season.
“I weighed up the situation when a few senior teams were sniffing around but the Lowland League is a good league with some really decent sides. There’s something big to go for next year.
“I know Mickey is keen to get most of the boys signed up for next season and hopefully we’ll bring in one or two more to really strengthen the squad.”
Should Whitehill take all three points tomorrow against their Borders opposition, they will finish the season with a total of 41 points.
However, their quest for second spot behind champions Spartans hangs very much in the balance with a further three side all chasing the runners-up berth.
Dalbeattie Star, Vale of Leithen and Lowland League Cup winners Stirling University remain in the mix, with the trio still to play their respective final matches next Saturday.
As well as missing the banned McIntosh, manager Lawson has fitness doubts over Wayne Sproule, Aaron Somerville, Darren McGlashan and Mike Bruce.