Colleagues pay tribute to Locos captain

Neil McLean with the Aberdeenshire Shield
Neil McLean with the Aberdeenshire Shield
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Throughout the past few weeks a picture has been building up on the character of the man who captained Inverurie Locos to second place in the League last season and success in the Aberdeenshire Shield.

Chairman Eddie Innes said, “Neil handles the responsibilities of being team captain and club captain with the maturity he has always shown. He is a player admired throughout the North of Scotland for his commanding driving midfield play with his rocket shooting which we saw plenty of last season”

Testimonial Committee chairman Bob Edwards added, “Some would say Neil is playing better than ever and his career likened to that of the evergreen Ryan Giggs, a flying winger who developed into a cultured central midfielder.”

Former manager John Gardiner knew right away he was desperate to sign him from Elgin City, “We got a hint Neil was going to become available, I wasted no time in getting his name on a contract. From the first day in training you could see he had the pace to go past almost anyone in the Highland League.”

A former team mate, now Neil’s co manager is Scott Buchan, who may well be shaping up for a brief appearance, said, “I hope it’s a huge crowd, he deserves it. It’s his day for being at the club so long. It’s always great to see Locos players rewarded for their loyalty. There’ll be a few old faces on show, I might get on myself!”

One of the guest players will be former team mate Jack Strachan who added, “When I signed for Locos as younger lad, I’d heard of “Nacho” because of his time as captain of the semi-pro Scotland team and also as one of the best Locos players. From the first training session, he made me feel very welcome and comfortable amongst the older and more experienced players. I’ve known Nacho for a few years now, and he’s probably one of my best mates in football.”

“Along with Tommy Wilson, he’s the best player I’ve ever played with – two footed, skilful, powerful and an inspirational leader. I was delighted when he was given the armband a couple of years ago - he’s a captain who leads by example with a huge desire to succeed. Nacho deserves all the recognition for his 10 years at Locos, and I’m both delighted and honoured to be asked
 back to play in his testimonial.”