PROMOTION-chasing Ayr United have today made their first signing of the 2017-18 season.

Centre half Chris Higgins (31) who was previously captain with Queen of the South for many years, is a left sided centre back.

Manager Ian McCall said :”I was desperate to get this deal done as Chris has been made significant offers by other clubs in our league and above. He has been captain for years and is a winner.

Chris is here almost entirely as a player however he is a fully qualified PT instructor so he will working on programmes to help our younger players with fitness, nutrition, speed etc.

He is exactly the type of boy we want at this club.

Chris said :”I haven’t worked with him before however I know the manager's pedigree and he really sold this opportunity to me. The club going full time was key in the decision as was the fact we are aiming for promotion and really want the title.

"I know most of the boys in the squad, either personally or having played with them before so I know we have some really top players.

"I have played at Somerset Park many times and the one thing I always notice is the fans behind the goal, they can be intimidating when they are in full voice and I am really looking forward to playing in front of them.
"The main reason I am here is as a player however I am also going to be working with some of the younger players on fitness and nutrition. In this day and age that side of the game is absolutely crucial and its imperative players look after themselves.”
Higgins started his career with Motherwell and since then has played for Clyde, Dunfermline and has been with Queen of the South since July 2011.

Striker Alan Forrest also signed a new one-year deal today.

Forrest has now made over 150 appearances for United and made his Scotland under 21 debut during last season.

Ian McCall said :”I am delighted to get Alan signed up as this is a huge year for him. People forget that he is only 20 but he still has the experience of over 150 games. I think going full time will be a huge benefit for Alan.

"Forrest was the club's top scorer during the 2016/17 season in the Championship.

Midfielder Michael Wardrope was released by the club after being unable to command a starting place.

Manager Ian McCall said :”There is no question Mick is being let go with some regrets. I have no doubt he could play in League One but that area of the park is an area I expect us to be very strong in. The problem with that would be that his game time could be limited and I know he has been frustrated at that previously."