MUIRKIRK manager George Grierson has brought in a mix of youth and experience with his nine new signings.

It signifies changes in the club which the gaffer says was something that needed done before a ball is kicked.

He said: “In my first year here we brought in a full youth set-up, then last year I never added a bit of experience to the squad.

“We thought that the experience gained in that first season would have been enough and that we would kick on.

“But that wasn’t the case and we really struggled throughout the season — because we lacked experience in the team.

“So this year, starting from Christmas actually, I have been speaking to players and brought in nine players.”

Although his main aim was to bring in players who have been over the course, Grierson will never turn down the chance to take on a good young prospect.

With the new additions to the squad, he feels that it has strengthened in important areas, which gives him cause to be optimistic.

“We now have the spine in the team, which is experienced and what we needed. Another aspect is that we have a lot more height in the team,” he added.

While the last few seasons have invariably meant a struggle to get points on the board, the gaffer admitted that he has had a bit of soul-searching to do.

Looking to the future he said: “Every club I have been at, as a manager, I have improved them, albeit Lugar was a different scenario because of the financial situation.

“Myself and backroom staff have always left a club in a better state than when we took over.

“I would not want to turn my back on this club. Guys like Billy Tait, club secretary, who puts so much work into the club have shown so much faith in me.

“I am happy with what I have got here and I think we will do well. We will surprise a lot of people and had a good pre-season.

“Two good wins, against Creetown and Abbey Vale, who are both decent sides in the South of Scotland League was pleasing.

“Although we lost 4-2 against Kilwinning, that was hardly a disgrace given the firepower that they have.

“Last year we would have folded like a pack of cards against them, but we came back at them when we played them recently.”

There is a feelgood factor at Burnside Park these days with the home dressing room livelier and louder than it has been for some time.

Another valuable addition to the backroom staff has arrived in Mark Ferris, who has taken over as assistant manager.

Grierson said: “Kevin Deeny, who was my assistant for a number of years, had work commitments.

“Mark was my captain at Kilwinning Rangers and has a really good positive attitude as he goes about the job.

“That rubs off on me as well and we are raring to go, especially with a derby against Lugar for our first game.”

Lugar v Muirkirk tonight (Wednesday) kick-off 6.45pm at Rosebank Park.