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Former Dundee and St Johnstone star Gary Irvine ‘unanimous’ choice for Forfar Athletic manager

Forfar Athletic player/manager Gary Irvine.
Forfar Athletic player/manager Gary Irvine.

Gary Irvine has been appointed manager of Forfar Athletic.

The former Dundee, St Johnstone and St Mirren defender has been in caretaker charge of the Loons since Stuart Malcolm’s resignation three weeks ago.

And ahead of their final League One match of the season, the club have announced Irvine has been given the reins to take the club forward.

They face East Fife tonight at 7pm to bring an end to a dismal campaign that has yielded just four league wins.

Irvine may not have been able to avoid the drop as caretaker boss but impressed the Forfar board so much that it was a “unanimous decision” to give him the job full-time.

That’s after leading the Station Park side to two wins in their last two outings, beating Clyde and Peterhead respectively.

A Forfar Athletic statement read: “The Forfar Athletic directors are delighted to announce just hours before kick-off in our last league game of the season that Gary Irvine has been appointed to the managerial role with the Loons.

Gary Irvine in action for Forfar.

“All involved behind the scenes at Station Park have been impressed with the manner in which Gary has steadied the ship in his caretaker role in charge over the last four weeks.

“Despite the fact that we were unable to avoid the drop down a division, the unanimous decision of the board … was that Gary was the man to take the reins with immediate effect.”

Decision on playing future

The 36-year-old has played 22 times for the Loons this season after signing for the club in February 2019.

His coaching career includes time as a youth coach at former club Dundee, spent while continuing as a player at Station Park.

The club statement added: “(Irvine) is currently engaged in undertaking his SFA coaching badges and will announce his backroom team shortly.

“He will… begin discussions with the out-of-contract players and begin to put in place arrangements for pre-season training.

“The 36-year-old … will obviously also have to make a decision on his own playing future.

“We are sure all Forfar Athletic supporters will wish him well and we hope that those same fans will be on the terracing and in the stand, in other words back where they belong come the start of next season.”

After beginning his career at Celtic, Irvine went on to play for Ross County, St Johnstone, Dundee, St Mirren and Forfar.

He picked up two Scotland U/21 caps and has won the Scottish second tier three times as well as two Challenge Cups.

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