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Strathspey Thistle boss confirms end of season exit after 'mentally difficult' season

By Niall Harkiss

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Strathspey Thistle manager Robert MacCormack has confirmed that he will step down from his role at the end of the current season.

The announcement comes three days after the Grantown club were beaten 7-0 by Highland Football League opponents Huntly.

Strathspey Thistle manager Rob MacCormack will step down at the end of the season. Picture: Frances Porter
Strathspey Thistle manager Rob MacCormack will step down at the end of the season. Picture: Frances Porter


MacCormack cited 'family and personal reasons' as key factors in his decision not to renew his contract – but says he will stay on at the club for their remaining 11 league fixtures.

Chairman Donly McLeod said the news was a 'shock' and that he was disappointed to learn MacCormack would not be staying on.

McLeod said: "I'm really disappointed he is going as I was hoping he would stay and give it another season, with a better idea of what he is up against. But he is adamant that he wants to go.

"He has promised me that he'll stay until the end of the season but we can't wait until then to try to get someone else in. He understands that if we have to make a change, he'll have to step aside but we don't want that unless we have to.

"If someone is going to come in, we need to give them a chance to weigh up the squad and see what we can do next season.

"We will be holding meetings next week to determine what we do next."

MacCormack says that it would have been 'selfish' for him to commit to continuing in the role.

He said: "It's something I've been thinking about for the last few weeks. It wasn't an easy decision, as there's a drive in me to do better.

"I could have built the team up again, but other factors come in to play, like personal and family life.

"I don't think people appreciate the work that goes in to running a Highland League club. I take my hat off to every manager who does the job as it's a massive commitment.

"To do what's needed this summer, I just felt that I couldn't do it. It would be selfish of me to say I'd stay on and then realise that it's too much so I've tried to be fair and honest to the club in that respect.

"We punch above our weight every single week. I genuinely think our performance levels have been decent. I come away from games where I think we've been excellent, but we end up losing 2-1, or 3-1. That is mentally difficult to deal with.

"But it has been an opportunity I never thought I would get, and hopefully one day I will be back involved at Highland League but the end of this season is time for me to leave the club.

"The experience I have had has made me a better manager and a better coach. I'll take what I've gained out of it and hopefully move on.

"The committee at Strathspey Thistle are some of the nicest people I've ever met. Clive Wolstenholme (secretary) in particular has been excellent, as they all have really."

Robert MacCormack joined Strathspey Thistle from North Caledonian League side Alness United a year ago, when he replaced caretaker boss Brian Ritchie after initially being brought in as assistant manager just a week earlier.

The club currently sit bottom of the Highland Football League with just four points, 11 points behind 17th placed Deveronvale.

MacCormack's final game of the season could be a two-leg fight for Highland League survival against Midlands League contenders Lochee United, who remain one of the favourites to win their division and secure a promotion play-off spot.

He concedes that the club may decide to bring in a successor before that becomes an eventuality.

MacCormack said: "If there is someone out there who wants to come in and take the club on, I'd be happy to leave earlier than that.

"But as long as I'm here, I'm still going to fight for every single point. It will be difficult to finish anywhere else but bottom of the league, but we'll still keep trying and training and so will the players."

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