Ayr United: Ryan Stevenson keen on new deal after promotion

Ayr United
Ayr United players celebrate after beating Stranraer on penalties

Ayr United midfielder Ryan Stevenson is hopeful manager Ian McCall will offer him a new contract after they clinched promotion to the Scottish Championship.

A nervy penalty shoot-out win over Stranraer settled the play-off final.

"I want to stay," the 31-year-old former St Johnstone, Hearts and Partick Thistle player told BBC Scotland.

"When I made the decision I was coming back it was a big decision, I could probably have stayed in the SPL and stayed full-time, but I love it here."

Goalkeeper Greg Fleming was Ayr United's hero after a goalless stalemate over 120 minutes left the aggregate score at 1-1.

Fleming saved nervy spot-kicks from Paul Cairney, Jamie Longworth and David Barron, and Andy Graham took his chance to fire the winning penalty for Ayr.

Ayr United 'a sleeping giant'

"I'm a fan of the club, I grew up here," said Stevenson, who is in his fourth spell at the club, including two loan spells. "I know what it means to the club, I know what it means to the town.

"It's fantastic, and going into the Championship next season, which is going to be a great league, hopefully the club can build on it.

"They've been on the periphery of being a big club. It's a sleeping giant, it really is. Hopefully now we're in the championship, with big teams coming, hopefully they (the fans) keep coming back to Somerset."

Manager McCall admitted his side had been far from their best over the two legs, but feels they deserve their place in the Championship, where they could be joined by Ayrshire rivals Kilmarnock.

"It's been a long road," said McCall. "I feel sorry for Stranraer, it's a horrible way to lose a game of football, and they were probably better than us over the two games.

"But we feel over the season we were the second best team in the league and we finished second and we deserved to go up, and for that I'm very proud.

"I've never felt like that in any game of football. Making my debut for Rangers against Celtic in front of 63,000, I didn't feel like that. It was fantastic."

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