Jags snap up young Elgin City defender on one-year deal
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Strathspey Thistle have captured their second signing of the season with the arrival of defender Ashley Ballam to his home town club.
Ballam, who turned 20 on Monday, has signed a one-year permanent deal with the Seafield Park outfit and joins from SPL League Two side Elgin City.
He previously had a loan spell with the Jags aged 16 and said he is delighted to make the return after turning down a new 12 month contract with his former club.
Ballam said: "I had a long hard think about making the switch to Strathspey and this is the right move for me to continue my development and to keep pushing on."
The 6ft 2in defender usual plays centre-half but can play off both feet and deputise at full back on either side of the park.
His previous loan spell at the Grantown club was in the 2017/18 season from Elgin under 20s when Ali Munro was the then Jags manager.
"It was my first real season playing against senior players and I got a few games under my belt - somewhere in the region of 20 appearances including from the bench," said Ballam.
"It definitely helped develop me as young player coming up against experienced Highland League players."
Ballam also had a successful loan spell with Rothes and also with Huntly, and has made over 70 appearances now in the Highland League.
He also captained Elgin's under 20s for two seasons and during that time twice lifted the North of Scotland League trophy.
He had joined Inverness aged eight and remained until age 16 before making the move to Elgin for final year at U17 level
Thistle said they were delighted to secure Ballam's signature and said he has a bright future in the game.
Manager Gordy Nicolson said: "We're really pleased to capture the signing of Ashley.
He’s a player I’m very familiar with. He comes back to us having gained a lot of game time in the Highland League and having played a number of games for Elgin city first team.
"We are very excited to work with Ashley and he comes to us at a great age to develop his ability.”
He made his first team appearance with Elgin City as a 17 year old in 2018/19 season home against Alloa in the BetFred Cup, and his other senior game was last season in the same competition away to Hibs.
Earlier this month he turned out in the Scottish FootGolf Scottish championship and finished sixth against the country's top players in his competitive debut.
The Grantown club secured the signing of Liam McDade in early July after he turned down a new offer from Elgin City.