LEAGUE-WINNING boss Calvin Shand has resigned as manager of Musselburgh Athletic.

Shand, who led the Honest Toun side to the East Region Premier League title last term, made the shock announcement last Thursday evening.

Kevin McDonald, who was assistant to Shand, and goalkeeping coach Ryan McGurk took the team on Saturday.

Musselburgh sit third in Conference A in the East of Scotland League and are on course to secure a place in the new Premier Division next season.

Shand, who was manager of the club for nearly three years, told Courier Sport he felt that it was the right time to quit and he had been considering leaving for a “little while” – but stressed there had been no fall-out.

“I was at Musselburgh for three or four seasons as a player and played in the 2011 Scottish Junior Cup Final,” he said.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with the club and there are a lot of good people and I’ve made a lot of friends.

“I’m leaving on really good terms and I have spoken several times about the future and that I am always there to give advice.

“I only want the best for the club.

“They have been a big part of my football career and it is a really good club with really good people involved and it deserves to go on and be successful.”

The Olive Bank side suffered relegation from the East Superleague in 2017 but bounced back in impressive fashion.

Shand was proud of the team’s achievement in winning the league and said: “Winning the league was the goal from day one.

“It was great the manner in which was did that. Breaking the points record and being unbeaten at home all season were extras along the way. You look at the form through 2018: we only lost three league games in the whole year.

“It is a great achievement, especially for the club given what they have been through in recent years.

“It is a sleeping giant.”

The former Cowdenbeath and Berwick Rangers player said the decision had been playing on his mind for a while and felt now was the right time to go.

Shand, 35, was looking forward to recharging his batteries and stressed there was no other job lined up.

He said: “Clubs are now at a stage of the season where they are starting to plan for next year.

“Potentially targeting players, looking to retain players – I didn’t think it was fair if in the back of my mind I knew I was not going to be there and resign at the end of the season. I felt the club deserved my honesty and I thought my time was up.”

It is the second time Shand has left the club, having resigned at the end of May last year. However, he had a change of heart and was re-appointed in the middle of June, ahead of the team kicking off their first season in the new East of Scotland Football League.

Shand, who lives in Bonnyrigg, said the club had the potential to reach the Lowland League – the fifth tier of Scottish football.

For now, he was looking forward to spending more time with his wife and two young girls.

Karl Cleghorn, Musselburgh Athletic chairman, said in a statement last Thursday evening: “The club manager spoke to me yesterday and informed me that he felt it was time in his life/career to make a change and he has, after much thought and consideration, for his own personal/family reasons, decided to terminate his time with Musselburgh Athletic after announcing this news to his players at training this evening.

“There is nothing at all that we can do to change his mind; he is, as you are aware, a mature, sensible and honest man and in having to make this decision it has weighed heavily upon him.

“However, I am confident that you will agree with me that he has been a most loyal and faithful servant to the club and will always be known and revered as a hero to us all.

“His record speaks for itself and we have all enjoyed some fantastic moments under his stewardship.

“I thank him most sincerely for the (large) part he has played in our resurgence since June 2018.”