Formartine United player-manager Paul Lawson has no intention of hanging up the boots for next season.
Lawson, who played for Celtic, St Johnstone, St Mirren, Ross County and Motherwell before moving to North Lodge Park has taken on a dual role this season since ex-boss Kris Hunter left the Pitmedden outfit.
The 33-year-old has been appearing in the United starting line-up again after recovering from fitness issues and scored from a free-kick in last weekend’s 5-1 Highland League Cup win over Clachnacuddin.
Lawson said: “When I first took over I made it clear I was still going to keep playing and spoke with the backroom staff. obviously they’ve been a massive help.
“But I was carrying niggly little injuries and struggling for fitness was the reason (for not picking himself).
“With the influence of (captain) Stuart Anderson missing of late, I feel it’s been more important that I’ve been in the side.
“I definitely want to keep going and I’m looking forward to having a proper pre-season under my belt to be ready for next season.”
When skipper Anderson returns, Lawson doesn’t foresee any struggle for on-pitch authority between gaffer and captain.
He said: “You’ve got him, the likes of Craig McKeown, Garry Wood. I think everyone leads and it’s not down to one person, that’s what I want from them.
“Since the day I took over the boys have been great – they’ve not treated me any differently and they’ll still shout at me for giving the ball away.
“After two o’clock on a match day I’m a player rather than a manager, and Russell (Anderson, assistant boss) and Jerry (O’Driscoll, coach) do a good job of dealing with that side of things.”
Lawson’s fourth-placed charges take on seventh-placed Brora Rangers in the league tomorrow, having beaten them 5-0 earlier in the season.
He said: “i’ve been looking at the league table and I’ve seen they’ve got four games in hand on us.
“It’s always a tough game against Brora, but it’s a so-called ‘big game’ in the league as well.
“It’s a game you want to play in but, at this stage of the season, it’s a game you want to win.
“We had a good result up there earlier in the season, and they will probably want a bit of revenge for that.
“But we had a good result last week and want to keep it going.
“Not many teams will go up to Brora and score five. As good as we were, I think it was an off-day for them.
“They’ll obviously be looking to change that.
“Although they were put out of the Scottish Cup last week, it’s still a great run for them and they’ll be full of confidence.”
Midfielder Anderson is close to fitness but still won’t feature tomorrow, along with midfielder Scott Ferries.
Defender Scott Henry remains out with a long-term injury.