Ross Gunnion believes Jeanfield Swifts have made another “statement of intent” with the signing of Keiran Stewart.
The Riverside manager has confirmed that the 26-year-old central midfielder has penned a one-year deal at the Perth club.
Stewart has a wealth of experience in the higher leagues, most recently with Edinburgh City but previously with Berwick, Elgin, Arbroath and St Johnstone.
“It’s a step down in terms of the league but hopefully he will push us on,” Gunnion told the PA. “It’s massive for the club.
“It’s too easy to say we’ve got a great physical presence in Keiran. That takes away from how good a footballer he is.
“He is comfortable on the ball and dictates the pace of play. I’ve seen him play a number of times and we’ve had a few friendlies against him.
“He is a very competent central midfielder. He can play the attacking role but can also play in a more defensive role.
“We’re getting a player who, with the experience of the higher leagues, will influence games in an incredibly positive manner.”
Swifts have continued to add players with SPFL experience in recent seasons as they mount a charge on the top of the East of Scotland League.
Gunnion said: “We’ve been slowly but surely adding quality to the team. Last year we brought in the likes of Scott Smith, Chris McLeish and Chris Dodd.
“These are players who were playing League Two, League One and even higher than that.
“There are always going to be players who leave but, in my opinion, the players who come in will improve this squad.
“At this moment in time, Keiran was one of the players who I thought could improve our starting line-up. We’re delighted to get him.
“It’s another statement of intent, looking for players who are going to improve our first 11.
“He’s local and fits the bill perfectly. I’m not saying we don’t look elsewhere, but first and foremost the priority is getting players from in and around the area.
“I want players who are invested in the club and invested in the area.”
Swifts are holding off getting back into training just now but hope to return later this month ahead of a proposed October league start.
“The guidance that came down from the SFA basically said we won’t be starting until October,” explained Gunnion.
“We didn’t want to get the players in too early. We’re going to try and start when we’re allowed contact training, provisionally pencilled in for August 24.
“We’ve got fitness plans and players have been working on their own, posting times for various runs. Some of the times are impressive.
“When we do start back, we’ll have a few rounds of testing to ensure they have got the stamina we expect and the explosive speed.”