Cumbernauld Colts departing co-manager Craig McKinlay proud of Lowland League achievements
Departing Cumbernauld Colts manager Craig McKinlay reckons the club punched above their weight in his time at the club.
McKinlay and James Orr were thrown in at the deep end to an extent when they took over as co-managers in the summer of 2015 on the back of the club's acceptance into the fledgling Lowland League
But their debut campaign yielded a remarkable fourth place finish and a run to the third round of the senior Scottish Cup, beating junior giants Auchinleck Talbot along the way.
Since then Colts have become established, finishing sixth (twice), seventh and ninth in the four completed seasons before the pandemic struck in 2020 - and in 2018 landed the club's first ever senior trophy, beating Selkirk 3-1 in the final of the Lowland League Cup,
McKinlay has now stepped down to spend more time with his family, leaving Orr is sole charge - and is proud of what the pair achieved in their six years working together at Broadwood.
"James and I were asked to take the job as co-managers when the club had just been accepted into the Lowland League and we had a very short period of time to pull a team together," he said.
"There were no players signed and we had a matter of weeks to do that. It was exciting and new and we put in place exactly how we wanted to do things.
"That first season was brilliant. There were a lot of lessons learned and put in place as the right model for the club moving forward and that's stood them in good stead.
"It's getting tougher. Each year the league gets stronger as new teams come in and invariably they've got much bigger budgets than the likes of Cumbernauld Colts.
"It has been hard but it's an excellent league to have been involved in and certainly for the first few years we punched above our weight.
"The first season was great and there was a lot of pride in what we did. The Scottish Cup run, and beating Auchinleck Talbot - they were one of the leading junior teams and we were just fresh in so that was a good achievement at that point.
"But to win the League Cup and the club its first trophy, and the manner in which we did it - a tough game, down to 10 men, 1-0 down and coming back to score three goals in the last 10 minutes or so - was a terrific achievement and I'll always remember that."
Despite his departure McKinlay is confident the club's on-field fortunes are in safe hands with Orr.
He said: "James and I have worked together for a long time, we've been mates a long time.
"He initially played for me at Dunipace and became my assistant manager and we then took on the roles at Colts of co-managers.
"Co-management doesn't work for everyone but over the piece what we've achieved shows it works for us.
"James and I work well together and moving forward he'll do really well, I have no doubts, and the club will go from strength to strength."