Barry Johnston relishing the new challenge at Lisburn Distillery

Barry Johnston says he is up for the challenge of trying to restore the glory days for Lisburn Distillery after being appointed the Whites new manager.

By Steven Crawford
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 4:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 4:17 pm

Johnston, who had a distinguished career in the Irish league playing for the likes of Cliftonville, Coleraine, Glenavon & Carrick Rangers, makes the move to New Grosvenor after a three-year tenure with St James Swifts.

The 41-year-old led them to the Ballymena and Provincial Intermediate League title last season, but they narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier Intermediate League following their play-off defeat to Ballymacash Rangers.

But Johnston will now be preparing for life as a PIL manager following his appointment at Distillery.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Barry Johnston was previously a first team coach at Cliftonville

He admitted there is hard work ahead as they bid to bring success back to the club which has a rich history in local football.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Lisburn Distillery as first team manager," he told the club website.

"I have moved to Distillery as I see this as a challenge to bring this great club back to the position that it truly deserves and I will give 100% to ensure we achieve those goals.

"Yes there will be a lot of hard work involved to reach the lofty targets that I will be setting myself and the team but I look forward to now getting stuck into the challenge that lies ahead.

"I arrive here having had three great years at St James Swifts and I would like to thank them for their support over that time and I wish them well for the future."

In a statement St James Swifts wished Johnston well and thanked him for his efforts.

"The Committee at St James' Swifts FC can announce that Barry Johnston will today leave the club by mutual consent," the statement read.

"The club would like to place on record our appreciation to Barry and his staff for the work they have done over the last three years.

"We wish them all the best in their new challenge ahead. St James' Swifts will now look to fill the vacancy as soon as possible ahead of the coming season. Details of application for the position will be released later today."

During his playing career Johnston won two Irish League titles, three League Cups and two County Antrim Shields.

Club director Colin Hopkins believes that experience will be invaluable for the Whites going forward.

“After the last few weeks of upheaval at the club following the unexpected resignation of Raymond Alexander as first team manager, we are genuinely delighted to have secured the services as first team manager of a real winner in Barry Johnston," he said.

"As our supporters will soon discover Barry is very passionate and knowledgeable about the game and we have no doubt his appointment will take the club into a new era of success."