Breedon Highland League new boys Banks o’ Dee have bolstered their squad by signing Paul Lawson and Neil Gauld.
Spain Park manager Jamie Watt believes signing the experienced duo is a statement of intent from the Aberdeen outfit following their promotion from the Junior ranks.
He said: “For us as a club it’s a statement that we want to compete, we want to be at the top end of the table competing with the top sides.
“We’re a club with ambition and we want to try to challenge so guys like Paul and Neil with the experience they’ve got in the league can only help us.
“I’m happy with my squad now and I’m really looking forward to the season ahead.”
Return to playing
Lawson was player-manager of Formartine United from September 2017 until March of this year and won three trophies while in charge at North Lodge Park.
Now the 38-year-old former Celtic, Ross County and Motherwell midfielder is returning to the Highland League as a player.
Watt added: “Paul came in and trained with us at the end of the season to get his fitness up potentially with a view to playing again.
“In the four or five training sessions you could see the quality that he brings.
“Paul has played at the highest level in Scotland and you could see that instantly with the way he goes about it.
“For us moving up a level having somebody like Paul with his experience in both management and playing will be important.
“It’s very unique really to be able to sign someone who has won trophies as a manager in the Highland League.
“Paul said his regret was having to stop playing at a young age. He’s still got the hunger to play and that’s why he ended up coming in to train with us.
“You can see the quality he brings and for myself and Roy McBain he’ll be a help to us as well.
“He managed Formartine for four years and we’ll tap into that and take advice from Paul with regards the coaching side as well.”
Striker Gauld was released by Inverurie Locos in April having netted 286 goals for the Railwaymen across three spells.
All told the 35-year-old – who has also played for Huntly and Formartine – has netted more than 300 times for Highland League clubs.
Watt believes he will be a great addition for Dee and said: “Goals is what Neil will bring, he’s a proven goalscorer at Highland League level.
“If you look back down the years you’ve had the likes of Neil and Cammy Keith who have both scored more than 300 goals in the Highland League which is phenomenal.
“For us coming into the league we’ve got two really good strikers who have done well at Junior level in Jack Henderson and Lachie MacLeod and they can only benefit and learn from Neil.
“It’s great for them and it’s also a challenge, I’m sure I’ll have a headache at various point of the season because we’ve got three top strikers at the club.
“Neil became a free agent and there were a few clubs after him.
“But he’s looking forward to the challenge here and it was a no-brainer for him to bring him in.
“With the style of football we play where we try to create chances I think that will suit Neil.”