Formartine United player-manager Paul Lawson is thrilled Archie Macphee has agreed to stay with the club and revealed he knocked back a full-time offer.
The attacker has penned a new two-year contract with the Pitmedden outfit.
Macphee arrived at North Lodge Park two years ago from Elgin City as a left-back, but has been playing further up the pitch as an attacker for United.
In two seasons he’s made 86 appearances and scored 59 goals, as well as helping Formartine win the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup and the Highland League Cup in the 2017/18 season and the Aberdeenshire Shield this term.
Other Highland League clubs were interested in Macphee and a club in Ireland offered him full-time football, but he opted to remain with Formartine.
Boss Lawson said: “I’m delighted because it has been up in the air for a good while.
“We spoke a number of times towards the end of the season and he had a bit of interest from a club in Ireland.
“That wouldn’t have been one we would have stood in the way of if he had wanted to go there.
“But we agreed that if that didn’t come to fruition he would stay with ourselves.
“It was a waiting game and I believe Archie received a full-time offer from a club in Ireland, so he had a few things to weigh up.
“But for us it’s great that he’s decided to stay. He has been a big player for us and that’s why we were keen to keep him.
“I think his performances did drop towards the end of the season and we discussed that.
“He was aware of that, but his head had been turned a little bit with interest from Ireland.
“It was understandable and if we can get him firing again it would be great.”
Lawson also praised the commitment of Inverness-based Macphee, who faces a round trip of over 180 miles to Pitmedden for training and games.
He added: “He’s enjoyed his time with us, but we’re under no illusions that playing for us is a big commitment for Archie.
“He lives in Inverness and, although he travels through for training and games with Conor Gethins and Wayne Mackintosh, it is still a big commitment. It’s great they are willing to do that to play for us.”
Formartine assistant manager Russell Anderson is also delighted Macphee is staying at North Lodge Park.
The former Aberdeen captain believes Macphee is one of the best players in the Highland League and hopes he can show that in the new season.
Anderson said: “Archie’s been a big part of the trophies we’ve won over the last couple of seasons.
“I think on his day he’s as good as anybody in the Highland League.
“We see what he can provide the team when he’s on top form and the challenge for us is to get that from him week-in, week-out, because on form he is one of the best, if not the best player, in the Highland League.
“He’s been a big player for us and when it came to the end of his contract we knew there would be interest from other clubs.
“All the teams at the top end of the Highland League are looking to try to improve their team all the time.
“So when there is someone of Archie’s quality who is coming towards the end of his contract it’s understandable that teams will try to entice him to go somewhere else.
“It turned out that way and Archie was well within his rights to see what was out there. But he’s decided to sign for us again and we’re happy with that.
“Hopefully we can get the best out of him and he’ll continue to improve over the next two years and Formartine will get the benefit.”