Jul 27 2012 By John Woods
IT'S as you were off the pitch and all change on it as Irvine Vics prepare for the coming season.
Brian Smith and David McCaffery, who were appointed joint caretaker managers after the club made a disastrous start to last season, will remain in charge, an arrangement which allows both men to take on managerial and coaching duties as well as pulling on the jersey and joining in the action.
Vics embarked on a terrific winning run after the pair took control and were among the promotion contenders until a late slump saw them slip back.
Now the pair are determined to do even better this time round and they've almost totally revamped the squad with seven new signings and more to come.
Clocking on at Victoria Park are former Largs midfielder Robert Burgess; centre half Kyle Finnie and striker Ryan Singleton – who scored in his debut against Cambuslang Rangers on Saturday – from Kilbirnie U19s; ex-Ardeer Thistle forward Darren Quinn; striker Chris Hunter and midfielder Boyd Mullen from Dreghorn Amateurs; and defender Derek McGrory from Neilston.
“These players, added to the guys already here give us the nucleus of a good squad,” said Vics Chairman Bert Loach,”
“But there's more to come and we're looking to add a wee bit more experience.”
Blair Gilmour has been transferred to Winton and everyone at Vics would like to thank him for all his hard work and effort during his six seasons with the club.
HOLDERS Cambuslang Rangers retained the Thomas Loach Memorial Trophy in the annual pre-season challenge match against Irvine Vics but they had to survive a spirited fightback from the home side before claiming the trophy courtesy of a penalty shoot-out.
The visitors had the better of the first half as an Irvine Vics side, packed with several young new signings and trialists, took time to settle but gradually the Westenders forced their way into the game.
However they didn’t make any real chances and were caught out 11 minutes before half time when a simple long ball was missed by the defence and found a Cambuslang player who crossed for Thomas Kilmartin to head the opener.
Both sides rang the changes at the start of the second half sand again it was ‘Lang who settled quicker and they doubled their tally with a well-worked goal, Kyle Brown giving the keeper no chance with a cool finish just after the break but Vics bounced back almost immediately and new signing Ryan Singleton threw them a lifeline when he gathered a long clearance on the left, cut inside and beat the advancing keeper with a lob from just outside the box.
Vics got the equaliser following a goalmouth scramble when the 'Lang keeper made a great stop, but an effort from the loose ball was blocked and rebounded to Kevin Adam who had his back to goal but swivelled and fired it home.
Vics keeper had a great save to prevent the visitors regaining the lead and the game went to a penalty shoot-out which Rangers won 4-1.