Jamie McKenzie: Gartcairn is dream job for me but I leave Forth with heavy heart

Jamie McKenzie (centre) with Forth committee men Dougie McKendrick (left) and Stuart Smith. The clubs 2016 league title win was marked by Coach of the Year and Team of the Years prizes being awarded to them at last years Clydesdale Sports Council Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
Jamie McKenzie (centre) with Forth committee men Dougie McKendrick (left) and Stuart Smith. The clubs 2016 league title win was marked by Coach of the Year and Team of the Years prizes being awarded to them at last years Clydesdale Sports Council Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

Forth Wanderers manager Jamie McKenzie has revealed that he will leave his Kingshill Park job with a heavy heart this summer.

The Kingshill Park supremo is quitting at the end of this campaign to become manager of Airdrie junior outfit Gartcairn, who have just sealed promotion to Division 1 for next season.

“I’m excited by the things that Gartcairn can offer,” Jamie told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette.

“I’m an Airdrie boy so Gartcairn is local.

“I stay a stone’s throw from the pitch and I think I can take the club to the next level.

“It is an academy club and the overall facilities are interesting to me.

“They are the second biggest club in Europe in terms of their Quality Mark.

“There are very young kids in four-a-side teams, plus teams at under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels who provide a pathway to the first team.

“That excites me, because it makes me think back to my days at Partick Thistle, when Murdo McLeod (then Thistle manager) showed a lot of faith in me by handing me my debut at 16.

“I would like to promote young players at Gartcairn and make them even better.”

Despite his satisfaction at imminently taking over at Gartcairn, Jamie revealed that quitting Forth is “probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make in terms of football”.

“I leave with a heavy heart,” he said. “I have had two different spells at Forth and have loved every minute.

“There are great people at the club with a great committee. People like John McCormick, Stuart Smith and Dougie McKendrick gave me the chance and I’ve been very grateful.”

The highlight of Jamie’s two spells came in May 2016, when Forth landed the Central Division 2 title – their first league triumph in 36 years – with a 4-1 home win over local rivals Lanark United.

He kept Forth in Central Division 1 last season but faces a virtually impossible battle to retain their status at that level this time around as he stays in his Kingshill Park post until the end of this season.

Forth drew 2-2 local rivals Lesmahagow on Friday night (match report below), before losing 4-0 against Wishaw at Kingshill Park on Monday night (see below), leaving them third bottom and heavily odds on to take the drop.

Forth are seven points behind both Greenock and Shotts, so realistically have to win all three of their remaining league games to have any chance of survival. They visit Thorniewood tonight (Wednesday), before hosting East Kilbride on Saturday and finishing with a home game against Blantyre next Wednesday.