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New Forres manager Steven MacDonald looking forward to the challenge despite the surprise resignation of Gordon Connelly

Forres Mechanics assistant manager Steven MacDonald
Steven MacDonald is the new manager of Forres Mechanics after Gordon Connelly's resignation.

Steven MacDonald is looking forward to the challenge of managing Forres Mechanics – even though he’s taken the reins in unwanted circumstances.

The 46-year-old has been appointed Can-Cans gaffer following Gordon Connelly’s resignation after only six games in charge due to a change in personal circumstances.

MacDonald and assistant Brian Macleod were part of Connelly’s coaching team and will both continue at Mosset Park.

MacDonald said: “It’s been a surprise to me how things have transpired. I’m looking forward to taking on the task, but it is in unwanted circumstances because I really enjoyed working with Gordon.

“I know what Gordon put into the role – he put everything into it and has been great to work with.

“The boys really liked him, so it’s disappointing that he has stepped aside.

“But the decision he’s taken shows the sort of person he is, because he didn’t feel he could put everything into it so he made the decision to step away.”

Aiming for glory with the Can-Cans

MacDonald wants to get Forres – who are currently 14th in the Breedon Highland League – back into the top half of the table and competing for silverware again.

He added: “I think Forres is a great club, we’re in a position that we don’t want to be in at the moment.

“The 18 months out because of Covid has set the club back a bit I think and it’s in a transition period to try to recover from that.

“But there’s a good young squad and the ambition is there. We’ve got a hard-working committee and board of directors that have ambitions to get the club back where it should be.

“I think that is in the top half of the league table and challenging to win trophies.

Gordon Connelly, right, who has stepped down as Forres Mechanics manager, with Steven MacDonald

“We’re a long way off that at the moment. The Highland League is split in two and the top seven teams seem to be a level above and the rest of us.

“For us the challenge is trying to bridge the gap. Forres have got a good history and I remember winning trophies playing for Forres.

“That’s maybe living in the past a bit, but that’s what we want to get back to and it’s where the club should be.

“But there’s no point just saying it. We need to make a plan and try to work towards that and set goals to get back to that level.”

Rothes experience will help MacDonald

MacDonald previously managed Rothes in the Highland League between January 2017 and August 2019.

He believes that experience will benefit him at Forres, and said: “You can play Highland League all your life and have that playing experience.

“But people forget it was my first job as a manager going in at Rothes.

“They were a bottom-three team when we took over and, when you think of where Forres are, I think they are in a better position compared with Rothes when I went there.

“The experiences I gained were really useful. Some of them weren’t nice experiences, but they were useful in terms of learning about management and the harsh realities of it.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge, because I think I have learned a lot from the Rothes experience and I’m lucky to have that behind me.”

‘The club is disappointed’

A statement from the Forres board announcing Connelly’s departure read: “Due to a change in personal circumstances over the past few weeks, Gordon Connelly has decided he is no longer able to give the time and commitment required for the role of manager at Forres Mechanics Football Club.

“He therefore has decided to step away from football.

“Although the club is disappointed to lose Gordon, we fully respect his decision. We would like to express our thanks to him and wish him all the best.

“The board have acted swiftly and are pleased to appoint Steven MacDonald as manager with Brian Macleod assisting.”

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