EAST Premier League champions Musselburgh Athletic will embark on their first foray into senior football next season with a new manager after Calvin Shand left the club.

A former Burgh player who was in the starting line-up for the club when they lost to Auchinleck Talbot in the 2011 Scottish Junior Cup final, Shand took over from Stevie McLeish in the Olive Bank dugout in June 2016.

A difficult first season followed as the club was relegated from the East Superleague but the 34-year-old has overseen a record-breaking campaign this term.

Burgh have stormed to the title, set a new points record for the division and, with victory on Saturday, broke the record for league points in any East Region junior league with a 5-2 win at Arniston Rangers (see match report on page 110).

Courier Sport understands that relations between Shand and Burgh chairman Charlie McGlynn had become strained.

On his surprise departure from the Olive Bank scene, Shand said that he was “disappointed”.

He added: “The committee know my reasons and so do the supporters’ club, and I would rather leave it at that.

“There’s things going on at the club.

Shand admitted that he would have liked to have had a shot at the East of Scotland League as Burgh prepare for the transition to the senior ranks this summer – they are one of a large number of junior clubs, including all four East Lothian teams, moving to the league ahead of next season.

He said: “I feel that we’ve got a good squad and with a few additions we could have been right up there pushing for a spot in the Lowland League [the tier above the East of Scotland League].

Shand, who runs a hairdressing business with his wife Cass in Edinburgh, praised the club’s “brilliant” committee, adding: “The success of this season is down to their hard work as well as the players.”

While he only announced his decision to stand down last Wednesday, Shand said that it had been weighing on his mind for “a few months”.

“I didn’t want any distractions for the players – they have been brilliant this year and the success is down to them,” he said, while adding: “I wanted to get the league out of the way first.”

Shand’s decision to stand down as manager came just days after friend and assistant boss Kevin McDonald stepped away from the club.

Shand, however, insists that while he is not leaving Burgh to take up a new role, he is open to offers.

He added: “If there is an offer and the job is right then I’ll think about it but I’ll not rush into anything – I’m not leaving to take a job elsewhere.

“I’m just going to spend the summer with my family and not chasing players or organising pre-season friendlies like I have the last two years.”

Looking back on his time at the helm, Shand said: “We’ve definitely improved the club from when we took over.

“We said it would take two years and relegation was never part of that, but we got pretty close to staying up [in the 2016/17 season] and this year we’ve broken just about every record put in front of us. I’m leaving but the club is definitely in a better place.”

Burgh chairman McGlynn wished Shand well for the future but declined to comment on why he had departed.

The club, he said, would appoint someone “as soon as possible”.

Burgh goalkeeper Ally Adams, who is leaving for Berwick Rangers, said of Shand’s departure: “I’m gutted for him because he’s done a good job but there’s obviously stuff going on at the club.

“I don’t know anything about that – I just concentrate on the football – but it is a shame.”