Four more put pen to paper
19th May 2016
Airdrieonians FC skipper Marc Fitzpatrick this morning heads a list of four more first-team players who have pledged their futures to the Diamonds as part of the full-time football adventure.
The experienced 30-year-old former Motherwell and Ross County midfielder, with 308 pro games behind him, has signed a two-year contract extension to stay with the Club until May 2018.
Fitzy is a key figure in the dressing-room and on the field, hugely valued by Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black, and will be a crucial figure in the season to come.
Last night he was joined on the squad roster for next season by popular left-back Kieran MacDonald, 22, who made his name at Clyde before a switch to play in the Premiership with Hamilton Accies.
Kieran re-established his career with the Diamonds last season after Eddie swooped in the January transfer window to bring him in from East Fife.
He filled a void in the the left-back role becoming a trusted fixture there and going through the 100-game barrier in the pro ranks in the 3-0 win over Dunfermline on the run-in.
Kieran has also put pen to paper on a two-year extension to his current deal to remain at the Club until May 2018.
One of the huge boosts in the three-game winning run at the tail end of the last campaign was the superb form of Academy graduate Scott Stewart in midfield.
The tireless son of Diamonds legend Sandy - currently in the midst of studies to become a PE teacher - was magnificent in those matches, showing why the coaching staff have such faith in him.
Scott has also now signed a one-year extension to his deal to stay with the Club and continue his development as a footballer.
Adam Brown, like Scott still just 20, arrived at the Diamonds last season having made his pro bow in the Premiership with St Mirren.
The gifted attacker had limited first-team opportunities but is a player with exciting potential who is highly regarded by the coaching staff.
That has won him a one-year contract extension to his contract and we look forward to seeing a return to full-time football getting the best out of a talented and dedicated player.
First team coaches Kevin McBride and Donald Jennow have been overseeing the squad-building process as Eddie continues his battle back from the major stroke he suffered in the dressing-room during the 3-1 win at Cowdenbeath on March 5.
And Kevin - who was delighted to see ex-Hamilton striker Andy Ryan tour Ravenscraig with old Accies pal Kieran last night before also signing - said: “It has been a hectic week but we are all delighted to get these five signings over the line.
“It’s a major step forward in building the squad but we know we still need two or three more in to bolster us and we are working constantly on that.
“Eddie has a vision too, as we all do, on the development of the younger players and they will sign their Modern Apprentice contracts this week to be a big part of the way forward too.
“Andy Ryan brings goals to the table and a real hunger and desire, he’s the sort of striker I would hate to play against if I was a defender.
“I’ve shared a dressing-room and a midfield with Fitzy and I know just how good a player and a leader he is and his signing is crucial for us.
“I think everyone was delighted to see us land a natural left-back in Kieran when the gaffer signed him and he will only flourish now he is back full-time.
“Scotty is a terrific boy and one of those team-mates you can always rely on. He works so hard for the team and we were all delighted with the impact he made towards the end of the season.
“And no-one who has seen or worked with Adam in training and with the Under-20s needs to ask about the potential he has.
“He scored a hat-trick for us in the 5-5 draw with champions Morton in the Development League last season that was a privilege to see.
“Adam knows he has to translate all that promise into the first-team arena but we are confident that given a return to full-time football and the confidence and faith we have in him that he can do just that.
“It has been 24/7 for everyone behind the scenes recently and I understand that fans worry about players going but in the switch from part-time to full-time football we were always going to have a period like this.
“We have had to remain calm, talk with Eddie and get on with our business and we’ll continue to do that.”
The coaching and backroom staff - bolstered this week by the arrival of Rangers and Scotland legend Andy Goram to mentor the goalkeepers - will move into the new Ravenscraig training complex on Monday June 6 with the players reporting three days later for fitness testing and the beginning of their pre-season schedule.