TOMMY Molloy says that leaving Greenock Juniors to take the reins at Ayrshire giants Kilbirnie Ladeside was one of the toughest decisions of his managerial career to date.

The 38-year-old Greenock native, along with coaching team Shaun Dillon and Owen Archdeacon, left Ravenscraig last month to take up the top job at Valefield to try and guide the North Ayrshire side to West of Scotland Premiership safety after a disastrous start to the campaign.

Molloy looked back at his time at Ravenscraig with pride and he has backed his old club to reach the second tier in the West of Scotland League pyramid.

He told the Tele: “It was a really tough call for myself and the coaching staff to leave Greenock and to be honest, it did come out of the blue.

“We didn’t apply for the job or anything like that. We were upfront with the players and staff about it as Kilbirnie had contacted the club asking for permission to speak to us and it would’ve been silly not to have at least spoke with them.

“Initially I was just looking to take experience from being interviewed as there was a few more experienced guys than myself in the mix.

“It wasn’t as easy as people think for me to go, because I was really close to the boys at Greenock as well as being a local guy with a long affiliation to the club.

“I think we’ve left the club in a better place than what it was when we came in.

“The club had fallen away after dropping out of the Championship and we’ve managed to try and build it back up.

“There’s a squad there that can easily go and play in the Championship with the size of the facilities and then the amount of players that the area produces as well.

“I really genuinely hope that they can continue to go from strength to strength.

“We left the team in a good position and they’ve carried that on over the last few weeks which is great. I wouldn’t say that we’d taken them as far as we could – Kilbirnie were just the right club at the right time, the timing wasn’t great but when is it really?

“I don’t think many people could turn down a club like Kilbirnie Ladeside either, they’re a giant at our level of football and they’ve got a great fanbase too.

“If we look at it in hindsight, Sean and I have grafted at Greenock and we’ve earned our chance to manage in the top league, it might not work out but I’d have regretted it for the rest of my days if I hadn’t given it a shot down here.”

Molloy hopes that he can turn to some Morton players of the past as well as the present as he hopes to steer the Blasties to Premiership survival.

He's confident academy recruits John Gallacher and Josh Meechan, along with former Morton man Jon Scullion, can fire his side out of the bottom seven.

The former Ravenscraig boss said: “We’ve managed to sign Josh and John from Morton who have come in and done really well whilst I’ve been here. They’ve stood out and will be big players for us going forward.

“Jon is looking really well. He’s lost a couple of stone during the last lockdown and is looking like he’s getting back firing.

“What a professional he is, he’s such an infectious trainer and he’s a boy who most importantly puts the team before himself.

“Technically he’s one of the best out there and if we can keep him firing then he can be a crucial player for us going ahead, we’re a better side when he’s in it.”