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MacLean returns for third stint in charge of Fort William

Fort  William boss Calum Maclean.
Fort William boss Calum Maclean.

Fort William have brought Calum MacLean back for a third spell as manager at Claggan Park.

MacLean was confirmed as successor to Russell MacMorran, who stepped down after Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Wick Academy, when he took training for the first time last night.

Lochaber-based painter MacLean’s coaching team will be made up of Martin Rae and Jamie MacGregor, along with skipper John Treasurer, who is currently sidelined with a cruciate ligament injury.

Former Fort and Inverness Thistle forward MacLean is no stranger to the club, having initially been in charge between 2008 and 2011.

MacLean returned in 2014 and presided over one of the most successful seasons in the club’s history, in which they won eight matches to finish 13th – which was their highest finish in 25 years.

Fort chairman Peter Murphy feels MacLean’s local knowledge and familiarity with the club make him an ideal fit for the position, and he said: “Calum is a great guy, a brilliant motivator and local to Fort William which was one of the main motivations for getting him involved.

“He is well known and respected across the Highland League. Some people may ask if we want to go back the way, but I don’t feel it’s a step back at all. Along with Martin, I think it’s a step forward for us.

“It can help us grow a local base as he’s very well connected in the area – not just in Fort William but the surrounding areas too – as far as Oban, Mallaig, Skye and Inverness as well.

“I’m really excited about it.”

Fort were reluctant to accept the resignation of MacMorran, who had been in charge since replacing Kris Anderson last January.

During MacMorran’s spell as manager, Fort ended a 74-match run without a league victory courtesy of a 1-0 triumph over Clachnacuddin in September.

That remains Fort’s only league win of the campaign, with the Lochaber outfit seven points adrift at the foot of the table, albeit having played eight games less than second bottom side Lossiemouth.

Murphy feels MacLean – whose first game in charge will be away to Formartine United tomorrow in a match which has been switched to Pitmedden due to Claggan Park being waterlogged – will have strong foundations to build upon, from a squad which contains nine loanees from Caley Thistle.

Murphy added: “We were hugely disappointed Russell chose to leave, but we understand his reasons for leaving.

“I respect him as a manager, he took us from where we were to an entirely different place with a competitive team on the park.

“We want to try and step that on now and progress up the league. We have a lot of games in hand now, so we have the opportunity there.

“We’ve got to follow through now and try to get some points on the board.”

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