ARTHURLIE manager Chris Mackie says supporters are in for a pleasant surprise when he reveals his squad for next season.

Mackie has been hard at work piecing together a squad for his first full season in charge, after placing a host of first-team regulars from the previous campaign on the transfer list.

Some eyebrows were raised with the news that Ian Nimmo, Gary Smith, Eddie McTernan and Gary Carrol would depart Dunterlie Park.

But Mackie is now close to finalising his squad well ahead of pre-season with 18 players signed up. With some still having time to run on deals with their current clubs, Mackie is keeping the names close to his chest for now, but he is convinced he has improved the Lie ranks.

He said: “We’ve now signed 18 players, we’ve been recruiting really well. I’m hoping to go with a squad of 20 and I would hope to have those completed this week.

“Some of the players’ contracts haven’t expired yet so it wouldn’t be right to give all the names yet out of respect for other managers.

“But there are some big players coming, some real eye openers. I think everyone will be happy when they see what we have been working on.

“There’s a freshness and a youthfulness about the squad, as well as a good bit of experience and quality. I’m really excited by these signings.”

The Barrhead club’s boss says he made it a priority to get his business done early and is now relishing the prospect of having a full pre-season with his new charges.

He said: “It was very important for me to get everything sorted before pre-season.

“I put together a shortlist about a month and a half ago and had a meeting with the new committee, who gave me the go ahead to go and get the players in.

“The new committee have been fantastic with me, they’re support in making these changes has been crucial.

“Everyone will report on the same day bar holidays which means we can get working with everyone from day one, I didn’t want guys coming in late on then having a lot to catch up on.”