Peterhead boss Jim McInally admits he’s disappointed, but not surprised to lose Paul Willis.
The midfielder joined the Blue Toon in January from Berwick Rangers and helped them win the League Two title.
But the 27-year-old has turned down the offer of a contract for next season to join Stirling Albion.
Willis made 15 appearances for the Buchan side, but only one was a start.
McInally said: “I think the way to sum it up is that I’m disappointed to lose Paul, but it’s not unexpected.
“I did say to him that his chances of playing regularly might be limited.
“But he knew that might happen when he joined – but I still thought he was a great addition for us.
“He came and gave us the extra strength in depth we needed at that time.
“He is a loss to us, but I’m also happy for Paul because he came to us, got a league winner’s medal and has now got a move to a good club in Stirling Albion.”
Despite mainly being a sub, McInally says Willis was an important part of Peterhead’s title success and hopes he does well with next term with the Binos.
He added: “Boys like Paul, Callum Home and Cammy Eadie who are on the bench a lot are so important.
“I say that because they are the boys you need to look after and try to keep them happy.
“The guys that play week-in, week-out need a good squad behind them. You need good characters in the dressing room who aren’t moaning all the time.
“You get plenty of that – and if they’re not playing you can’t really blame them – but if you get good characters like we’ve had it helps us achieve what we achieved.
“But at the same time I can understand why the likes of Paul decide to leave.
“I’ll be delighted if he does well at Stirling Albion and we’ve given him a bit of a platform.
“He came to us from Berwick where he was the big fish and came to us where the team was quite established, but he came and was quite willing to play his part.
“I would rather he was still here, but I’m pleased that he’s got a good move to a good club in Stirling Albion.”