EAST Lothian will be at the heart of Falkirk’s defence next season as they look to win promotion to the Championship.

The Bairns are languishing in League One after three times missing out on promotion.

Now, under the management of John McGlynn, a former player and manager of Musselburgh Athletic, they are gearing up for another bid to return to the Championship.

Among his first signings are Port Seton’s Liam Henderson, North Berwick’s Coll Donaldson and Elphinstone’s Sean Mackie, with Haddington’s Paul Watson already at The Falkirk Stadium.

Henderson, who joined the club from Arbroath, became McGlynn’s first signing since the manager left Raith Rovers at the end of the season.

Speaking after the deal was confirmed, Henderson told the club’s website: “It’s been in the pipeline for a while and now me and John have got it sorted so I’m delighted.

“Obviously I was here before when I was younger, so there’s a bit of unfinished business, you might say.

“I’m really looking forward to getting started.

“Bring on the start of the season!”

East Lothian Courier: Liam Henderson has swapped Arbroath for Falkirk. Picture: Ian Sneddon/Falkirk Football ClubLiam Henderson has swapped Arbroath for Falkirk. Picture: Ian Sneddon/Falkirk Football Club

Henderson began his career with Hearts before making the switch to Falkirk for the 2017/18 season.

He was then loaned out to Cowdenbeath and Edinburgh City, where he came close to helping the Capital club achieve promotion in 2020/21.

He made the move to Arbroath, where he again lost out in the play-off final.

Now, the 25-year-old has returned to Falkirk for a second spell.

Meanwhile, Donaldson is no stranger to McGlynn, having previously worked under him at Livingston, where he began his career.

The centre-back arrives at The Falkirk Stadium with a wealth of experience, having made more than 230 career appearances.

Twenty-seven-year-old Donaldson swapped Almondvale for Queens Park Rangers when he was just a teenager before spells at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Dundee United and Dunfermline Athletic.

Donaldson was looking forward to the new season and said: “As soon as I spoke to John, I was keen on being involved in the whole project that he put forward to me, so I’m looking forward to getting started and a tough pre-season, but I’m used to that!”

East Lothian Courier: Coll Donaldson will be lining up for Falkirk next season. Picture: Ian Sneddon/Falkirk Football ClubColl Donaldson will be lining up for Falkirk next season. Picture: Ian Sneddon/Falkirk Football Club

McGlynn, who previously managed Hearts and Livingston, was “delighted” with the two signings.

Speaking about Henderson, he said: “He is a player that has developed over the years and he was here as a youngster so he knows the club and the expectation level.

“He’s picked up a lot of experience and I think he’s going to do exceptionally well for us.

“He adds a bit of steel to the defence, he’s got good awareness, he’s good on the ball.

“He has all the physical attributes we’re looking for.

“I’m delighted he’s here, he’s happy to be here and I can’t wait to start working with him.”

McGlynn added: “I’ve known Coll for a good few years, I had him at Livingston.

“He’s got a good presence, he’s a big lad, really good on the ball.

“He’s played in the Premiership and has a lot of experience under his belt.

“I’m absolutely delighted to bring a player of his calibre into the club and I think he will help us no end going forward.

“I’m looking forward to working with him again.”

Former Livingston defender Watson, of Haddington, is also in his second spell at the club, having rejoined at the beginning of the year after leaving Dunfermline Athletic.

The 31-year-old made more than 75 appearances for the Bairns between 2015 and 2018.