ATHLETIC chairman Ross McArthur has said he is "excited" by the appointment of Stevie Crawford as their new head coach.

The 45-year-old, who returned to East End in the summer, was appointed on a permanent rolling contract yesterday afternoon to succeed Allan Johnston, who left the club on Wednesday.

He will be assisted by another former Pars stalwart, Greg Shields, while a third ex-player, Jackie McNamara, will also be part of a new footballing structure via his sports consultancy company, Consilium Sports, who have agreed to assist the club by providing "ongoing technical support" to the board of directors.

Speaking to the club's video channel yesterday evening, McArthur admitted that the previous 24 hours had been difficult, but urged supporters to give the new management team their backing.

"It's not been an easy period and it's never nice to ask people to move on, but we just felt as though we were at a point where needed a change because there had been too many missed opportunities this season," he explained.

"We've been reviewing things and what we've tried to do is create a slightly different type of structure going forward, where we are looking to appoint a young, hungry coaching staff, and I'm delighted that I can announce that Stevie Crawford will be the head coach now at the club.

"Stevie came in in the summer to assist Allan and Sandy and it is difficult when you’re coming in to an established team, but I’ve seen enough of Stevie in terms of his desire, his commitment, his enthusiasm, his energy, and just his organisation and the way he analyses situations, and also the values that he holds as a person.

"I’m excited about Stevie coming on board. Also, I can announce that Greg Shields will be joining the club."

Shields, who enjoyed two spells with the Pars as a player, moved to the USA with Carolina Railhawks in 2009.

After ending his career, the former Dunfermline High School pupil took on a coaching role with the club, which included working at first-team and youth levels.

McArthur said he jumped at the chance to return to East End, and continued: "Greg took the step to go to the States in 2010 and he’s spent the last eight or nine years out there developing his coaching career, particularly with young players, helping them develop and give them the opportunity to get into the first team.

"That’s something as a club we’ve not done enough of, so that’s a big part of Greg’s experience and something we want to utilise.

"He was keen to relocate. I spoke to Greg late yesterday morning, and he didn’t need any convincing; he said I’m going to go into my club, seek my exit and I’ll be on the next plane.

"He’s literally travelled through the night from New York – he arrived here off the plane at 9.30am this morning with two hours of sleep. To me, that is what being part of Dunfermline Athletic means to Greg Shields and that’s just a fantastic commitment."

McArthur also commented on the role McNamara, who started his career with the Pars before earning a big-money move to Celtic, would have.

He added: "He has a sports consultancy company who provide technical support services to football clubs.

"We’re able to utilise Jackie and his extensive knowledge and, as a board, it’s more really in terms of helping me develop the football side of the business.

"That’s the important thing that we’ve recognised that needs to be strengthened, and Jackie’s knowledge in that regard, in looking at how we do things, how we train, how we monitor players, assess players, all that type of thing.

"Jackie’s going to bring that to the table and that’s another fantastic addition.

"It’s important we get right behind Greg and Stevie, particularly this Saturday, because they’ve not had a lot of time for preparation."

McArthur added that the club are speaking to potential candidates as they aim to recruit another coach to assist Crawford and Shields in due course.