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Highland League Stalwart Believes Echt Will Be Back

Co-managers confident Echt will return to Premier Division

Report by Andy McLaren

Former Highland League veteran Gary Loch today promised he will do his bit to bring back the glory days for the Aberdeenshire club following their first ever relegation last season.

The Division One outfit are still one of the most successful Amateur teams in the North-east, having won three Premier Division titles and lifted the Aberdeen FC trophy seven times.

Gary and co-manager Stevie Davidson have taken over the team from Mike Robertson, who will now help out as a coach.

Echt progressed to the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup in 1996 and 1997 but became the biggest club to be relegated from Amateur football’s top flight in recent times after finishing a point from safety.

And Gary, who played in the Highland League for 14 years, believes he has a squad capable of recapturing the form that made them Aberdeenshire’s most successful Amateur club.

He said: “I have played for clubs including Peterhead, Montrose, Elgin and Buckie Thistle but I was totally shocked when Echt were relegated last season.

“The biggest problem was the commitment of players but I really hope to improve this throughout this season.

“We will strive to get back into the league the club deserves to be in and hopefully this can be one of my biggest achievements in management.

“It’s not a disaster if we don’t get promotion in our first season but I really hope our players fully commit to the club this time around.

“If the boys can learn from their mistakes and give their full attention to our promotion hopes, then there is no reason why we can’t add to the silverware collection at Echt.”

Echt joined the Aberdeenshire Amateur FA in 1990.

They quickly progressed through the leagues to become a top flight powerhouse.

The former Premier Division champions, who won last season’s Association trophy, failed in their bid to join the junior ranks in 2009 after making an application to make the step up.

The Aberdeenshire side are expecting to sign nine new players for their upcoming campaign in this season’s Division One (East).

And co-manager Stevie Davidson, 44, admits there is a positive feeling at the club ahead of their first season in the lower leagues of Amateur football.

“Nobody likes to get relegated, especially a club like Echt with all our history and achievements,” he said.

“You lived for football 15 years ago but times have changed and we have struggled to adapt to the changing ways of football.

“Over the years, we have had over 30 signed players but we are looking to have a stable squad and hopefully we can achieve promotion.

“Despite not having so much success in recent years, every team still loves to beat Echt so we are expecting the same from teams in Division One.

“We would ideally like to have twenty boys ready to play for us at the start of the season.

“Nobody has any right to say they deserve to still be in the Premier Division and we are no exception.

“Our main aim will always be to win the league and we must fight hard to make sure we can bring success back to this club.”