IRVINE Meadow are putting their faith in former players Brian McGinty and Stevie Aitchison as the management team to bring about a change to their ailing fortunes.

The popular duo have been enticed away from Rossvale after 20 months in charge of the Central First Division outfit and will be taking up their new Meadow Park posts with immediate effect, starting with Saturday’s testing Scottish Junior Cup encounter at home to Broxburn Athletic.

They will operate along similar lines with Gints as team manager and Aitchy filling the No 2 role, with a role found for interim

gaffer Jimmy Noble, who had been tasked with looking after playing matters after the sacking of Ross Wilson this month.

Noble is a former team-mate of both men, and will be part of a new backroom team whose aim is to bring about major improvements in the fallen Ayrshire giants’ standing in the Super First Division table. They currently occupy ninth place after picking up just two wins and seven points from their six outings.

Just to force their way into the promotion reckoning looks an outside possibility, but the prospects of a title challenge is remote as they trail league leaders Petershill by 18 points, albeit from three games fewer played.

Last night, 40-year-old McGinty said: “Aitchy and I have both known better times at Irvine Meadow and we are well aware of the club’s potential if we can just get a winning team out on the pitch.

“Yes, it’s a huge challenge and one that will undoubtedly require more than an overnight fix.

However, having the ground, infrastructure and fan base already in place has convinced us to give it a go.

“To walk away from Rossvale was a wrench and probably the most difficult call I have ever made in my footballing career because we have received nothing less than the fullest backing from the people there and not least from a playing squad whose commitment and willingness to buy into our ideas has been marvellous.

“Medda officials first made contact last week but I simply couldn’t turn my back on Rossvale ahead of our crunch top-of- the-table league game against Wishaw and I must say it felt a lot easier driving down for talks on Sunday on the back of our 4-3 victory.

“Informing the Rossvale club chairman of our decision was another tough call but softened somewhat from knowing the club is in a very good place on and off the pitch so whoever lands the management job will be one lucky guy.”

McGinty’s praise of his erstwhile Bishopbriggs dressing room raised the question as to whether he might be considering making one or two transfer approaches but he batted away any such suggestions.

“First and foremost I owe it to each and every player at Meadow Park to show they can be part of our plans going forward. We know the likes of James Marks, Graham Muir and the ex-Pollok defender Mark McLennan from our own playing days and Jimmy has not been shy in coming forward with his tuppence worth about others. There is clearly the makings of a decent team.

“Hopefully they will respond to what we bring to the table because Aitchy and I are here for the long run and our sights are set on restoring Irvine Meadow’s status as a Super Premier Division side and as one of the major Junior forces in the game.”

The new management pair face a daunting baptism against East Region Super League outfit Broxburn, whose playing ranks

include former Arthurlie front man Darren Gribben and their mid-table position has been earned through taking the notable scalps this season of Linlithgow Rose, Hill O’Beath and Newtongrange Star.

Ayrshire play host to a number of other intriguing Cup contests with another ex-Irvine Meadow player, Gavin Friels, hoping his Dalry Thistle side can cause a major upset by knocking out reigning trophy holders Glenafton.

The Glens, with David Gray back after suspension, would appear to have too many aces in their pack and also strongly fancied to secure their place in the third-round draw will be last season’s beaten finalists Auchinleck Talbot who face Forres Thistle.

Hurlford United are also looking a good bet to overcome North Region opponents Nairn St Ninians, as do Super Premier frontrunners Beith at home to Inverness City.