May 14 2010 By Kieran Westbrook, Dumfries Standard Friday
ANNAN have snapped up former Queens and Gretna star Andy Aitken in a two- year deal.
The 32-year-old defender turned down a new contract with relegated outfit Ayr United.
And Aitken reckons he can make a big impact in the third division.
He said: "I think with the experience I have from playing with clubs like Queens and Gretna, I can bring that to Annan.
"There’s a very good basis of players at the club and if they can just bring in one of two additions, I think we’ve got the makings of a very good squad."
Aitken opted to join Ayr United instead of Annan after leaving Queens at the end of last season.
But he thinks the time is right to return to the club he started with as a youth player.
Aitken said: "Joining Annan is the right move for me for a number of reasons.
"I’m still living in Annan and I really like the club.
"I’ve also just been offered a new job in Dumfries, and with a young family the travelling was getting too much.
"There could also be the opportunity to get involved in coaching, which is an area of my career I am very interested in.
"Getting the two-year contract was a definite plus for me.
"These days in football it’s less common to be offered anything more than a one-year contract, so that was an attraction too."
Aitken made 25 starts in all competitions for Ayr last season, but had to watch from the sidelines as the club were sunk by Morton on the last day of the season.
But Aitken is looking forward to the Galabank switch.
And he thinks the club can make the sought-after promotion play-off cut this time round.
He said: "We just need to add one or two players to the squad. But the lads pulled out some very good results this year, so it can definitely be done.
"It’s just about knowing when to play football and when to keep it tight.
"The club beat some higher opposition last season, getting some great wins against clubs like Livingston.
"It was just dropped points against the lower clubs that cost us."
Galabankies gaffer Harry Cairney said: "It has been well documented that we needed to bring in a quality left sided player.
"In Andy, I believe we have just the man.
"He was our prime target and his experience and quality will be vital in our attempts to improve our position in the league in the coming years."
Aitken signed the two year deal on Tuesday night.
l Veteran Annan defender Derek Townsley has hung up his boots.
The 39-year-old is retiring from professional football and standing down from his post as assistant manager.
Townsley made 38 appearances in his two seasons at Galabank.
His illustrious career included spells at Carlisle United, Gretna and Queens. At his height for Motherwell and Hibs he made nearly 100 SPL appearances.
Manager Harry Cairney said: "I would like to thank Derek for the enormous contribution he has made during our first two years in the SFL.
"He has made a big impact on the players and backroom staff during his time here.
"He will be missed and I would like wish him good luck for the future."