Max Christie exclusive: Bo'ness United manager aiming high in Lowland League after securing 10 new signings
With 10 new signings secured already this summer, Bo’ness United boss Max Christie is aiming high in the 2021-22 Lowland League campaign.
With big guns Kelty Hearts promoted to League 2, Bo’ness won’t have to compete against them as they bid to get a place in the upper echelons of the Lowland League.
"I don’t think Kelty were clear favourites last season,” Christie told the Journal and Gazette. “I think Bonnyrigg were quite close to them, as were East Kilbride and perhaps BSC Glasgow.
"I think a few teams have strengthened recently but a few teams are weakened. Spartans have been quite busy strengthening but I think half of the BSC team has signed for Stenhousemuir.
"So I think there might be different teams at the top end of it this season coming.”
Christie’s main aim during his recent squad overhaul has been to reduce the average age of his squad while retaining or enhancing the quality.
Of the established Bo’ness old guard who have featured in recent years – 30+ stalwarts like Will Snowdon, Ross Campbell, Stuart Hunter, Chris Donnelly, Ian Nimmo, Brian Morgan, Michael Gemmell, Fraser Keast, Stuart Hunter, – only Hunter and Gemmell remain.
"I always knew when I came in that this refit was going to happen because players get old,” Christie said.
"There have been some fantastic players in that Bo’ness team but it was always going to be the case that I had to gradually replace these boys.
"They were all just getting older and on a bad day we would lack legs a wee bit. But on the days we were sprightly, those boys won us the league, won us the league cup.
"Hunter and Gemmell epitomise what we are looking for, great lads, big characters who are able to train hard and compete week after week.”
Bo’ness’s new breed have been looking good in pre-season training.
Christie added: “The boys have not played football for such a long time that they’re quite fresh mentally and not doing much moaning when they have to run.
"When the footballs come out they’re really enjoying it and the standard of football’s been good and quite sprightly and sharp. We’re quite hopeful about next season.”
Bo’ness’s first pre-season friendly is away to Sauchie a week on Saturday.