The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)

Lichties rebuild after legends exit


Arbroath have begun the task of overhaulin­g their squad ahead of their drop into League One next season.

Just two years on from being on the cusp of securing promotion to Scotland’s top flight, the Lichties’ five-season stay in the Championsh­ip has come to an end.

Jim Mcintyre’s side will be plying their trade in the third tier next year – and will do so after a changing of the guard that will see them bid farewell to club legends Derek Gaston, Ricky Little and Michael Mckenna.

The trio are part of a group of 16 players who will depart at the end of their contracts, with the club’s four loan signings returning to their parent clubs as the Gayfield side clear the decks following a turbulent 12 months.

Leading the list of departures is star man Mckenna, who has already secured Championsh­ip football for another season after penning a deal with League One invincible champions Falkirk.

The midfielder signed for Arbroath from Berwick Rangers in January 2018 and went on to score 51 goals across his 242 appearance­s. He was named the SPFL Championsh­ip Player of the Year for 2021-22.

Defender Little has been a name synonymous with Arbroath since his 2013 switch from Queen’s Park, where the defender played alongside now Scotland skipper Andy Robertson.

Eleven years of service and 382 appearance­s later, loyalty is a word best used to describe Little, who committed to the 250-mile round trip from his home in Kilwinning to turn out for the Lichties.

The 34-year-old has enjoyed a testimonia­l year to celebrate hitting such milestones but could now look for something closer to home should the boots remain on for another season.

Another fan favourite to call time on his spell in Angus is influentia­l goalkeeper Gaston, who moves on after five years.

Having made the step up to the senior ranks at Albion Rovers, Gaston then spent seven years at Greenock Morton before heading up to Gayfield in 2019, where he has since made 169 appearance­s.

The departing trio are joined by Kyle Robinson, Darren Lyon, Jess Norey, Kenan Dunnwald-turan, Keaghan Jacobs, Zak Delaney, Jay Bird, Ali Adams and Scott Allan.

Loanees Adam Mackinnon, Charlie Reilly, Connor Teale and Max Boruc will return to Ross County, Dundee, Fleetwood Town and Hibs respective­ly.

Boss Mcintyre has wasted no time in showing Arbroath’s intention of bouncing back at the first time of asking by refreshing their forward line with the double capture of Airdrie’s Calum Gallagher and Queen of the South’s Gavin Reilly – both on two-year deals.

Reilly has racked up more than 100 profession­al goals having turned out for Hearts, Dunfermlin­e, St Mirren, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham, Carlisle United, Livingston, Greenock Morton and Stenhousem­uir across his 14-year career to date.

Having come through the youth ranks at Rangers – where he had loan spells at Alloa, East Stirlingsh­ire and Cowdenbeat­h – Gallagher’s most prolific spell has been with the Diamonds where he has netted 69 goals in his 192 outings.

The forward will look to end his time with the Lanarkshir­e outfit on a high as they take on Partick Thistle in their Premiershi­p play-off quarter-final second leg at Firhill tonight.

Arbroath club captain Tam O’brien leads the list of players who are under contract for this season and beyond.

Ryan Dow, David Gold, Colin Hamilton and Scott Stewart have also pledged their futures to the Gayfield club.

 ?? ?? DEPARTING STALWARTS: Michael Mckenna, left, Ricky Little, top, and Derek Gaston.
DEPARTING STALWARTS: Michael Mckenna, left, Ricky Little, top, and Derek Gaston.
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