Ayr Advertiser

Troon announce new signing

- Stuart Reid stuart.reid@newsquest.co.uk

Troon have signed Mark Shankland from Auchinleck Talbot as Jimmy Kirkwood looks to bolster the Seasiders’ squad for the new WoSFL campaign

TROON boss Billy Kirkwood says he hopes the capture of former Auchinleck Talbot man Mark Shankland will send a signal to the rest of the Premier Division about the Seasiders’ ambitions for the forthcomin­g campaign.

Shankland left Beechwood Park this summer after almost a decade at the club – a period filled with numerous trophy wins.

The forward has been one of a number of Talbot stars to leave the club this season, but Troon have benefitted from this decision.

Shankland – who made his debut as a second-half substitute in Saturday’s 0-0 friendly draw away to Hutchison Vale – said that no contract offer had been made to him by Talbot after he struggled with injuries for much of the past season.

An understand­ably delighted Troon manager, Jimmy Kirkwood, was thrilled to get the new signing over the line.

He said: “Everybody at this level knows what a talent Shankers is.

“He has that little bit of magic to do something different in a game that can turn a defeat into a draw and a draw into a win.

“Players like that don’t come around very often, and we are delighted to be able to bring him to Portland Park. And I think it says a lot about what we’re doing that he was so keen to come here.

“The way we play football opens the door for someone like him and we are really excited about getting him involved with the team.”

Shankland was one of three new signings unveiled by the Portland Park side last week, with Nicky Docherty and Chris Millar also joining Kirkwood’s squad ahead of the new West of Scotland Football League campaign.

Docherty, 32, makes the move to Portland Park after being part of Beith Juniors’ Premier Division title-winning squad last season, the culminatio­n of 11 years at Bellsdale after spells with Drumchapel United and Blantyre Victoria.

Millar, meanwhile, moves down the coast from Kilwinning Rangers after a stellar career including 600 appearance­s in senior football, the high point being his decade at St Johnstone, during which the Perth men won the Scottish Cup in 2013-14.

In addition to the arrivals of Shankland, Docherty and Millar, Troon have also announced the capture of Blair Richardson on a permanent deal after the centreback spent the second half of last season on loan at Portland Park from East Kilbride.

Next up for the Seasiders is the annual friendly contest with Maybole for the Stuart McGrady Memorial Trophy at Portland Park tomorrow (KO 7pm), before Kirkwood’s men head for Fife to take on Glenrothes on Saturday.

A supporters’ bus leaves Portland Park at 10.30am on Saturday, but demand is expected to be high, so if you’re interested in travelling, please call Billy Inglis on 07957 539491 or John Redmond on 07793 420968 to reserve your place.

Ayrshire sides provide the opposition in all of Troon’s first five Premier Division fixtures, with Irvine Meadow visiting Portland Park on the opening day on July 29.

Kirkwood’s men host Largs Thistle on August 5 before Shankland’s old team come calling on August 16, with away fixtures against Glenafton on August 2 and Hurlford on August 12 completing Troon’s early season league games.

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