Weir is ready for next step

Man­ager could not turn down ir­re­sistible chal­lenge at For­far

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - SPORT -

For­mer El­gin City man­ager Jim Weir in­sists the op­por­tu­nity to step up to League 1 with For­far Ath­letic was one he could not refuse.

Weir left Bor­ough Briggs on Sun­day night to take up the Loons job, which has been va­cant since the sack­ing of Gary Bol­lan last month.

The move ends Weir’s suc­cess­ful spell of nearly three years with the Black and Whites, the for­mer St John­stone de­fender hav­ing suc­ceeded Barry Wil­son in Novem­ber 2014.

Weir will be joined by as­sis­tant Gavin Price, who will take charge of City’s IRN-BRU Cup third round tie away to The New Saints on Satur­day, be­fore fol­low­ing the 48-year-old to Sta­tion Park.

Al­though For­far are bot­tom of League 1 with only one vic­tory so far, Weir says the chance to work at a higher level was one he could not re­sist.

Weir said: “I am leav­ing with a heavy heart, but with a great feel­ing hav­ing worked for the club, the sup­port­ers and the play­ers.

“I can’t thank them enough for giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity they gave me nearly three years ago. There is cer­tainly no bad feel­ing, every­thing was done cor­rectly by both clubs.

“When this op­por­tu­nity was brought to my at­ten­tion I had to lis­ten to the plans of the For­far board, but I would have been fool­ish to walk away from it.”

Weir looks back fondly on his time in charge of El­gin, hav­ing steered the Mo­ray out­fit to the pro­mo­tion play-offs for only the sec­ond time in his first full sea­son in charge in 2015-16, los­ing out to Clyde in the semi-fi­nals.

Hav­ing in­her­ited a side that was bot­tom of League 2, Weir feels the team is now in a far bet­ter place, ad­ding: “We have been re­ally un­for­tu­nate. I re­ally felt last year we had built a very strong squad and a good foot­balling side that was scor­ing lots of goals, but we lost a key player in Shane Suther­land at a key time in the sea­son. Sometimes that hap­pens in football.

“This year we didn’t quite get the points we should have on board. We went away to the league lead­ers on Satur­day and came back from 2-0 down be­fore go­ing on to con­trol the game, which we should have won.

“It has been an ex­cel­lent three years in terms of pro­gres­sion though.”

For­far be­come the fourth An­gus club Weir has man­aged fol­low­ing stints at Mon­trose, Ar­broath and Brechin City, and Weir is con­fi­dent he can turn things around, with his first match away to Queen’s Park on Oc­to­ber 14.

He added: “If I don’t have that feel­ing you can climb the ta­ble the chal­lenge be­comes greater.

“I know a num­ber of play­ers in the squad hav­ing worked with them pre­vi­ously. Hav­ing come up against them four times with El­gin last year I know how dif­fi­cult and com­pet­i­tive a side they are.

“Hope­fully we can get off to a good start. There can sometimes be a lack of con­fi­dence when a team has been los­ing games but we will look to try and get that next win.

“The break maybe comes at a good time.” El­gin City as­sis­tant man­ager Gavin Price is to take the League 2 Black and Whites on their long trip to Wales in the IRNBRU Cup this week­end to face The New Saints be­fore join­ing man­ager Jim Weir at For­far.

Weir was in­stalled as man­ager by the Sta­tion Park club on Sun­day night as the re­place­ment for Gary Bol­lan, who was dis­missed a fort­night ago how­ever it has been agreed that Price will re­main to help El­gin as they start their search for a new man­ager.

Price, who was with For­far as a player, said: “It was with a heavy heart Jim left El­gin as he en­joyed his time there but a num­ber of fac­tors were in­volved in mak­ing the de­ci­sion, in­clud­ing some away from football.

“He is get­ting down to work there tonight and I will join him af­ter El­gin’s trip to Wales un­less things change dra­mat­i­cally.”

Mean­while, Jim Jefferies in­sists he has no in­ten­tion of copy­ing Alex Smith and step­ping back into the dugout in the wake of Gary Jar­dine’s res­ig­na­tion at Ed­in­burgh City.

Jefferies is the sport­ing di­rec­tor at the League 2 club and was left dis­ap­pointed by Jar­dine’s de­ci­sion to step down af­ter 15 years at the club as a player and man­ager.

The 66-year-old for­mer Hearts man­ager said: “I as­sured Gary from day one that I was not go­ing back into the dugout. The re­la­tion­ship we had was that if he wanted an opin­ion or to bounce some­thing off me then I was there.” Max Whit­lock ad­mit­ted nerves al­most got the bet­ter of him af­ter the dou­ble Olympic cham­pion ex­pe­ri­enced mixed for­tunes on the open­ing day of the world gym­nas­tics cham­pi­onships in Mon­treal.

Whit­lock missed out on a place in the floor fi­nal af­ter a late stum­ble but re­cov­ered with a strong pom­mel rou­tine to keep alive his hopes of re­tain­ing the ti­tle he won in Glas­gow in 2015.

The 24-year-old had spent a rare pe­riod out of the gym in the wake of his hero­ics in Rio and said his rel­a­tively short build-up to the cham­pi­onship had contributed to his rare at­tack of nerves.

Whit­lock said: “That was prob­a­bly the most ner­vous I’ve been in my ca­reer. It was tough out there.” Bay­ern Mu­nich mid­fielder Franck Ribery faces a spell on the side­lines af­ter suf­fer­ing a knee in­jury at the week­end. The 34-year-old hurt his left knee in the 2-2 draw at Hertha Ber­lin on Sun­day and scans have shown he has suf­fered a lat­eral knee lig­a­ment tear. To­mor­row’s sched­uled Press and Jour­nal High­land League fix­ture be­tween Rothes and Nairn County has been post­poned.

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