NAIRN County have come to an agreement with Paul Macleod to cancel the remaining season on the defender’s contract. The 28-year-old has now left the club.
Chairman Donald Matheson said: “Paul approached us a few weeks ago and asked to have his contract terminated at the end of the season for a number of non-football reasons, which will remain private between Paul and the club.
“After discussions between Paul, the club’s Management Committee and team manager Ronnie Sharp, it was agreed to grant Paul his request. The paperwork was concluded at last night’s under-20s match and lodged with the SFA this morning.
“Paul did us a huge turn last summer by agreeing to a substantial wage reduction and playing on with the club this season. In fact, I remember when we first approached the players last summer to ask if they would consider the prospect of wage cuts, Paul immediately said to me that he would play for free if he had to.
“We now feel that in return, it is only right that we grant Paul his request. He has not been a first-pick in the team lately for one reason or another and now wants to move on with his career. He leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at Nairn County.”
Macleod said: “It has been the toughest decision of my career to ask to leave Nairn and it is not one I have taken lightly.
“I just feel like I need a fresh challenge and that eight years after making my debut for Nairn, I need to go elsewhere to mature as a player in the Highland League.
“This decision is in no way a reflection on Ronnie Sharp or anyone else at the club. The club is now run the way I have been saying it should have been for years. The team is only going to get better and the club is only going to improve with everyone now pulling in the same direction and Ronnie at the helm. In fact, if it had not been for Ronnie’s man management, I would have made this request a long time ago – he talked me into staying on at Christmas time and I doubt if another manager would have been able to do that.
“I am Nairn boy through and through but I look at the way I have reacted to games where we have been beaten and it has not been healthy for me personally or fair on my family or the rest of the squad. I feel that the only way to curb that now is to look to start afresh elsewhere.
“I would like to thank everyone at the club for all they have done for me. There have been times when I have let the club down but they have done nothing but stand by me through these times and I have really enjoyed the many good times I have had with Nairn.
“I would also like to thank the old chairman, Peter Mackintosh and Peter Mackintosh, Michael Mackintosh and Les Fridge of Narden for giving me my first chance with the club but the time has come for the book to close on Paul Macleod at Nairn County, for now.”
Macleod made his debut for the club on May 2nd 2009 in a 0-0 draw with Buckie Thistle at Station Park when he came on as a substitute.
He has gone on to make a total of 160 appearances for County, scoring four times, with his first and last goals coming in away fixtures at Fort William while strikes away at Brora Rangers and Wick Academy were sandwiched in between.
He lifted the 2011 Highland League (Morganti) Cup when Nairn were 4-0 victors against Fraserburgh at Princess Royal Park in Banff.