Boss Kevin Rutkiewicz admits East Kilbride ‘got lucky’ with the signing of Bob McHugh as he revealed a little bit of convincing and a family connection at K-Park helped seal the striker’s switch from Queen’s Park.
Last season McHugh helped the Spiders seal promotion to the Championship and now he will be tasked with spearheading Kilby’s Lowland League title bid, as well as their quest to reach the SPFL through the pyramid play-offs.
The 30-year-old dropped a division last term when he left Morton for Queen’s Park and he now drops three tiers to join Kilby.
But Rutkiewicz says the excitement of trying to help EK achieve their dreams and a bit of fortune has been an important factor in the signing coup.
He explained: “Bob is a big one for us. There’s a bit of good timing and luck involved though.
“Bob is looking to go part-time and his cousin is Neil McLaughlin [the Kilby midfielder] so there’s that connection as well.
“Bob is now making a life-choice, if you like, to go part-time.
“When he left Queen’s Park he wanted to go somewhere exciting where he could help a team achieve something. It was a big coup for Queen’s Park when he went there from the Championship with Morton, and the reason he went there, I think, was he felt there could be real success there, which they got with the promotion.
“Obviously we are hoping he can come here and be successful as well.
“The timing was right but we also had to do a wee bit of convincing by showing him the project here, what me and Bill [Orr, the assistant manager] are all about.
“He’s bought into it and we are delighted to get him on board.”
The former Motherwell forward has signed a one-year deal at K-Park and brings a wealth of SPFL experience to the table, having also featured for Airdrieonians, Queen of the South, Falkirk and Morton during his career.
He scored eight goals in 40 appearances for the Spiders last season as they won promotion from League One via the play-offs, defeating Airdrie in the final.
And Rutkiewicz hopes he will be able to bring out the best in his squad, as well as hitting the goal trail as a much-needed number nine.
He added: “Last season Neilly got 20 goals, Joao Victoria and Cammi Elliot both got 20 plus, and we’d be looking for Bob to join them with similar numbers next season.
“But what Bob can also bring with his experience and ability is bring the best out of the lads in the squad.
“Truth be told, when we arrived at the club a natural number 9 wasn’t there because Chris Aitken had been trimming the squad, big Lee Miller had left, Craig Malcolm had left and those were more natural nines than the likes of Cammi and Joao who play more out wide.
“Bob does give us a more natural number nine and I’m really hopeful he will help the team in that department.”
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