LONG-serving Dirrans Athletic player-manager Jason Stewart is stepping down after a hugely successful spell at the Kilwinning club.

After six years, he will call it quits at the end of the season.

Jason said on Monday: "After a brilliant six years as player-manager of the Dirrans I have decided to take a break from football. It was a very tough decision but we have came such a long way from the Second Division to a good Premier League side. There are too many people to thank. Last year was up there as best year, winning two trophies and winning the First Division three years ago was also a great achievement.

"They are a brilliant club to be involved in and it was a bit emotional telling players on Saturday after the game.

"Managers and players move on but the club is in a great position off and on the park so hopefully they continue to improve. We have three games left to try and finish in the top four four, which would be a great way to sign off."

The club issued a statement which read: "We would like to thank Jason Stewart for his sterling service over the last six years. Jason took over the manager's role in 2011 after we were relegated into the Ayrshire Second Division. By the end of the season the club were back in the First Division and after a near miss finishing fourth in our first season in the division, we strolled into the Premier League the following year dropping only four points on the way. Under Jason's guidance we have established ourselves as a Premier League club with two top four finishes over the last three seasons.

"In season 2015-16 - the clubs 70th anniversary - we won both the James Scott Memorial Trophy and the Donsport Trophy. In Augus 2016 we also defended the KSC Community Shield."

In the Scottish Cup the club have reached the fifth round in each of the last four seasons - the only Ayrshire team to achieve this.!