Manager's View - Willie McLaren
23rd June 2013
Jimmy Boyle admits he has a 'soft spot' for Willie McLaren – but has vowed to work him hard this summer.
The Airdrieonians boss offered the maverick winger a new one-year deal which he has since signed.
Boyle thought carefully about whether or not to give the 28-year-old a fresh deal.
However, his mind was made up when he recalled the magic he can conjure up, as shown when McLaren struck the winner in the 2-1 victory at Dunfermline Athletic on the final day of last season.
"Willie's Willie," the manager laughed. "I have a soft spot for him. He came on against Dunfermline and produced. We know he can do that.
"We will be working hard with him. We need to get him physically fitter and that's where he has let himself down.
"I like Willie. He has some craft, in the Second Division, that can change a game.
"He'll be one of the older players and he will have to help some of the younger boys in the team.
"I think that will bring the best out in him. I think he needs a challenge.
"Willie finds football dead easy. It comes naturally to him.
"The one thing I will say about him is that he is a winner. He doesn't like getting beat and he has shown how upset he has been with the results. They hit both he and David Lilley hard."
Boyle also wants to get the best out of former Hamilton Accies and Morton defender Grant Evans.
The 23-year-old's first campaign at New Broomfield was disrupted by injury.
"Grant was unfortunate last season," Boyle added. "He'd come from full-time to part-time football but had a lot of injuries.
"There was a spell when he did kick on but he picked up another injury.
"I know he likes this place and he wants to do well."