Weir is ready for next step
Manager could not turn down irresistible challenge at Forfar
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.