AYR junior side Whitletts Victoria have begun the search for a new manager after George Grierson stepped down from the role on Saturday on health grounds.

Grierson took over at the McBookie Championship club a year ago with Vics sitting in the bottom half of the Ayrshire District League but turned the club's fortunes around, leading them to promotion to the Championship where they have consolidated their position in junior football's second tier.

However with Grierson set to go into hospital for a second hip operation, the Vics gaffer has called time on his stint in the dugout

“I had a hip replacement operation in October and am due to go back into hospital on January 28 for an operation to replace my other hip. My body can’t take the rigours of coaching and managing a junior football side anymore, This was not an easy decision. I’m gutted that I have had to step down. I always maintained that Whitletts would be my last managerial job. Sadly it’s just a good bit earlier that I had anticipated. Whitletts is a fantastic club with a great bunch of players, " he said.

Devastated Vics chairman John Dalton said: "What George Grierson has achieved at Whitletts over the past year has been remarkable and he has left a solid foundation for a new manager to build on. When he told me it was a devastating blow but I fully understand. He is still a young man and his health must come first. He is open to remaining involved, but whatever happens I would like to place on record my and the club's thanks to George for what he has achieved."

Coach Scott Clelland will take charge until the Vics Committee determine the way ahead.