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Michael Morrison says his appointment as assistant boss at Highland League Deveronvale came out of the blue

By Craig Christie

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AFTER three years out of football, man-of-many-clubs Michael Morrison is thrilled to be back in the game with Deveronvale.

Michael Morrison
Michael Morrison

Having served eight Highland League clubs during his playing career, Morrison (41) made Vale his ninth by agreeing to become manager Craig Stewart's new number two.

He sees Vale as a club who should be challenging for a top six place, and intends to help Stewart push the Banffers up the league table.

"I might be four seasons away from Highland League but you still know what’s required to be successful," he said.

"Getting back involved in the Highland League, I’m looking forward to visiting these grounds that I haven’t seen in a while.

"I’ll see a few familiar faces, ex team-mates who are now managing, opposition players who are now managing.

"There’s a lot to look forward to when the time is right and we can get going again."

Morrison's Highland League career began at home town Elgin City, who he then stepped up into the Scottish League with.

He stayed in Moray with Lossiemouth and Forres Mechanics then moved further afield for spells at Cove Rangers, Huntly, Inverurie Locos, Buckie Thistle and Nairn County.

Winning trophies became a regular occurence for the stopper, whose pinnacle arrived a decade ago when he skippered Buckie to the Highland League title, beating new club Deveronvale in a title decider on the final day.

Morrison (centre) gets ready to celebrate on the day he captained Buckie Thistle to the Highland League title.
Morrison (centre) gets ready to celebrate on the day he captained Buckie Thistle to the Highland League title.

His playing career ended at Dufftown where he also succeeded Steve Paterson as manager, but stepped down three years ago.

"Over the last three years I wasn’t really missing it, but sometimes the right opportunity appears out of nowhere and that’s kind of what happened.

"I got a phone call from Craig (Stewart) out of the blue. I was very surprised at the time.

"The more I spoke to Craig and the more he told me what he was looking for and what he was hoping to achieve at the club, the excitement started to appear again and now I can’t wait to get going.

"I’ve known Craig for a long time. I played with him at Elgin youth team and I remember him from then.

"I played juvenile football with Deveronside very early in my footballing career and I remember him from that as well.

"I was playing against him when he was at Turriff, then Pele took him to Formartine when I was still playing so I’ve known him for a long time.

"We both seem to sing off the same hymn sheet in terms of how we would like to play and what we would expect of players.

"Both of us don’t expect anything of any player that we wouldn’t be willing to do ourselves.

"The set up they have through at Deveronvale, with the stadium and training facilities, that’s important to me.

"They have a great youth set-up and a core of coaches, a head of youth development that keeps an eye on things and an under-21 Aberdeenshire League which you would like to think will be feeding into the first team in the not-too-distant future.

"Deveronvale is a well-known and well-respected club, they were top dogs for a number of seasons in fairly recent times.

"Latterly you could say they haven’t been where they used to be but in the last few seasons they have been on the up, certainly with Craig and Dippy (Last manager Steve Dolan) who were doing a good job of getting players in and playing good football, trying to push up the league again.

"There is the desire from the committee and Craig and everyone surrounding the club to be a top-six team.

"It isn’t going to happen overnight, it will take a bit of time and hopefully we can start that path again.

"I wouldn’t have taken on the job if I didn't feel I could make a difference. I’m sure Craig wouldn’t have approached me if he didn’t feel the same."

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