Nairn County have handed Sam Gordon a new one-year deal and a promotion to the first-team squad.
The 21-year-old winger has been with his hometown club since the age of 13.
Gordon had been playing in the Station Park side’s reserve team for the past few seasons but director of football Graeme Macleod reckons his patience is finally about to pay off.
Macleod said in a statement: “I am thrilled for Sam. He has had to be patient but he has worked hard at his game, particularly over the last year.
“He’s been a part of the reserves squad for five years now going back to when it was under-20s.
— Nairn County FC (@NairnCounty) June 5, 2021
“He has kicked on this season and we have received good feedback on his progress in games and training from our reserve team coaches.
“Getting up to the first team squad is one thing but getting into the team is another challenge entirely but Sam knows that and is looking forward to it.
“I am sure it will take him a bit of time to adjust but he will get his chance to show what he can do over the summer and I am sure we will see his ability once he settles in.”
‘Pathway to the first team’
Macleod pointed to the progress of Lewis Mitchell and Ciaran Young, who both earned first-team slots last year.
He added: “Sam follows in the footsteps of Lewis and Ciaran, who we took up last year.
“It shows the benefits to us of having a reserve team in the North Caledonian League, where the guys are playing competitive fixtures at one level below the Highland League every week.
“It is his (Sam’s) performances in these matches which have caught our attention.
“It is a big jump from the North Caledonian League to where we want to be in the Highland League, though, but we see potential in Sam to make it.
“It is now entirely down to him to go out and grab this opportunity.”
Gordon will see a familiar face in the first-team dressing room in interim manager Brian Macleod.
Macleod had been assisting reserve team bosses Stuart Finnie and Kevin McLeod on a part-time basis before stepping up to the first-team role as Ronnie Sharp takes a break from the game following a heart attack.
Mike Rae will assist Macleod, who made over 200 appearances for the club after making his debut under Sharp in 2003.
The Station Park side also recently handed new deals to Dylan Mackenzie and Gussie Dey.