McGinty takes charge after Downs exit

Robert Downs
Robert Downs
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Bellshill Athletic are under new management as they prepare to take on promotion rivals Dunipace on 
Saturday.

Brian McGinty has been appointed player-manager following the departure of Robert Downs and his team to take over the managerial reins at Arthurlie.

Downs will move to the Super League Premier outfit along with assistant Stevie Aitchison and coach Phil Bannister.

And he admitted he had mixed emotions about the decision to quit the Central First Division pacesetters.

He said: “I owe Bellshill a massive thank you for giving me my opportunity two 
years ago.

“We’ve had more ups than downs so it’s with a heavy heart that I am leaving.

“It wasn’t an easy decision but we just felt the opportunity to go to Arthurlie was too good to turn down.

“I played there for five years and live in the Barrhead area so I know the club well.”

Under Downs Bellshill were transformed from relegation strugglers into 
title contenders and remain in a strong position to return to the Super League 
next season.

Downs said: “I still have regrets that we didn’t win the league last season but I think we’re leaving Bellshill in a strong place.

“Brian McGinty had been working with the coaching team so I think appointing him is a good move.

“He’ll have his own ideas of course but bringing him in does give some continuity and hopefully Bellshill can go on to win the league 
this time.”

McGinty’s appointment was confirmed by the club on Monday and he will be 
assisted by team-mate Sinclair Soutar as they try to steer Bellshill back into the Super League after a four-year
 absence.

The club also issued a statement thanking Downs for his efforts during his two years in charge at Athletic.

It confirmed: “Robert Downs has left the club following an approach from Arthurlie FC.

“Arthurlie FC contacted us with regard to this matter and Robert, along with Stevie Aitchison and Phil Bannister, go with our best wishes.

“We would like to thank Robert, Stevie and Phil for their service to our club and we are sure they will have a successful career in 
the future.”