AN ARDROSSAN Accies legend has returned to the club this season - in a slightly different role from his previous stint.

Andrew Duncan began playing for the rugby club's youth section, and worked his way up to be a key player in the first team before he departed two years ago.

He was also the long-standing development officer at the Accies, a role which saw him coach and train the stars of tomorrow, before he stepped away.

Now he has returned - not as a player, but as the coach of the club's first team.

In his time away, the Accies suffered relegation from the National Leagues to the regional divisions of Scottish rugby - only avoiding another relegation by the narrowest of margins in the 2022-23 campaign.

But after taking over the helm at the Memorial Field, Andy - known also as Ronnie - is looking to get a good feeling back about the place.

He told the Herald: "It feels good to be back, it felt longer than it probably was being away - after being there 20-plus years, being away two and a bit years doesn’t seem much!"

The time away was very much needed for Andy, who had not previously taken much time out of the game.

"To be honest, I was just building other sides to my life other than rugby," he said.

"It had been a bigger part than just playing - as development officer - so in a way it was nice to focus on what I would be doing post-playing."

And some of that time post-playing is now going to be spent coaching - as Ronnie feels the time was right to come back to the Accies.

"It seemed the right time for me and the club," he said.

"I’ve had experience coaching youth teams and players which fed a desire to continue into senior rugby.

"That partnered with where the club are currently playing and still rebuilding post-Covid. It felt a good opportunity to further develop myself and a team."

So what exactly are his aims for the club now? Well, Andy is hoping to build the club back up after a challenging past couple of campaigns.

He commented: "The hopes are to have a successful one! I'm under no illusions that it’s going to be easy, as I’m sure every other team in the country hopes for the same.

"I think with a good culture, something I hope will last long after I’m there, paired with a strong work ethic, the boys should do well.

"Culture feels like a trigger word as it’s something I’ve been saying a lot about.

"But if you have a culture which makes people, beyond players, want to be part of something and driving the values set by the club, it makes everything more enjoyable and less of a hobby as it becomes something you believe in."

And work is already well under way for Andy and the club, who have taken several steps to ensure their chances of success.

"We have tried to get things right off the pitch by building a support network for myself, coaches and the players," he explained.

"With Brian Hendry assisting me while still playing, Allan Rice, the club's development officer, Martin Gaetano, a young player retired through injury, and Andy Thompson joining as a sport psychologist, it’s helping drive things in the right direction.

"We have also retained the involvement of Alfie [Hogarth] and Craw [Crawford Allison], after the positive influence they had on the squad towards the latter half of last year.

"It all creates positive messages and aligns the team goals to get good results and lift the club."

The Accies' new league season begins on September 2, when they travel to face Strathaven in West Region League Division One.

They are still looking to add to their squad now, with pre-season under way.

Anyone interested in getting involved can contact the club via social media -