KILWINNING footballer Ricky Little is leaving Arbroath after 11 years, the club has announced.

Little has spent the last 11 years of his career with the Angus club, some 125 miles from his home town.

Little's dedication was hailed by The Lichties earlier this month when it was announced he would leave the club following their relegation from the Championship.

They also paid tribute to the contribution of the "iconic figure" at Gayfield, with the defender's time in Angus coinciding with the club's most successful period in their 146-year history.

Having first joined the club from Queen's Park in July 2013, Little went on to make 382 appearances in maroon.

He didn't get off to the best of starts, breaking his foot in his first match for the club, but went on to win two league titles with the club - League Two in 2017 and League One in 2019.

He also made major contributions as Arbroath punched above their weight as a part-time club, coming agonisingly close to securing promotion to the Premiership in 2021-22.

Club chairman Mike Caird said: “Ricky has shown unquestionable loyalty to his teammates and the wider club over the past 11 years.

"His determination to win has been instrumental in helping to achieve the club’s most successful period in our long history, and his leadership and experience has gone a long way in assisting players around him to develop and flourish.”

Speaking to Arbroath FC TV, he thanked the club for making him feel so welcome during his spell - despite being so far removed from his Ayrshire home.

He commented: “I’ve had some amazing times here at Arbroath, knowing that I’ve played a part in the club winning two league titles means a lot to me.

"Competing in the Championship for so long shows how good the group we’ve had over the past five or six years has been.

"I want to thank the fans for the support you’ve given the boys and I over the years. Thanks for being so welcoming to me and my family; they’ve loved this experience as much as I have.

"It’s been a tough year for all of us, but please try to remember the good times, and hopefully more of those days are just around the corner.

"All the best and I’ll see you all soon!”

Little now plans to take a break from playing to spend time with his family over the summer before thinking about his future plans.