DUNDONALD Bluebell have appointed Lee Dair as their new head coach following the departure of his brother Jason to Dunfermline Athletic.

Jason, 44, who took over at Moorside Park in March last year, resigned from his position last Thursday to take up a role as first team coach with his former club, where he will work alongside former team-mates Stevie Crawford and Greg Shields.

His departure came during a busy week for the Cardenden club who, 24 hours later, announced that they had been granted full membership of the Scottish Football Association, which will allow them to participate in next season’s William Hill Scottish Cup.

General manager Allan Halliday, who confirmed this week that Craig Morrison will continue as assistant, told Times Sport that they “couldn’t stand in the way” of Dair returning to the Pars, with whom he spent four years as a player.

“From Jason’s point of view, it was a thing he couldn’t turn down and he goes with our best wishes. It’s a great move for him,” he explained. “It was a chance to get back into full-time football and we couldn’t stand in his way.

“Jason has been brilliant for us. He brought a professionalism to the club and is an absolute gentleman. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have him at the club.”

The former Oakley United boss, who also had spells coaching with Cowdenbeath, East Fife and Berwick Rangers, took over from Stevie Kay and helped ‘Bell finish fourth in junior football’s East Region Super League.

They, along with a number of clubs including Hill of Beath Hawthorn and Crossgates Primrose, then moved into senior football in the East of Scotland League, and clinched promotion to next season’s Premier Division after an impressive campaign in Conference B.

“We are happy with the squad we’ve got and done our business early with a couple of signings,” Halliday continued. “We have kept everyone from last year and Lee had quite a big input into that. Continuity is what we’re looking for and Lee has a lot of thoughts that are the same as Jason.

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. We’re happy with how we’re set up for next season.”

That will kick-off with Bluebell as full members of the SFA after works including the installation of floodlights and enclosed fencing around the ground, and changing room upgrades, were completed within six months.

Halliday added: “The licence was a big thing for us. A lot of hard work has been put in by a lot of people we hope that the Bluebell competing in the William Hill Scottish Cup will be reward for that.

“We hope to see the benefits of being a member club and we are delighted to get it. It’s great for Cardenden to have a senior club in the village and it’s a very exciting time for Dundonald Bluebell. To go from where we were six or seven years ago, when we were in the bottom tier of junior football, to where we are now is tremendous.”

New SFA president, Rod Petrie, will attend a match and present the club with their membership certificate.