Oran Kearney hailed new signing Ruaidhri Higgins after he put pen-to-paper on a two-and-a-half year deal at The Showgrounds.
The 30-year-old had his contract at League of Ireland champions Dundalk cancelled by mutual consent on Monday before joining up with the Bannsiders.
Kearney is delighted to add the classy midfielder to his squad.
“Ruaidhri is a fantastic addition to our squad,” the Bannsiders boss told Times Sport.
“He had agreed to stay on at Oriel Park for another season as it looked like Richie Towell would be making the move to an English club.
“That didn’t materialise so Ruaidhri felt he probably wouldn’t play as many games as what he would like this coming season.
“So he decided to move on and was very keen to come here, which is a major boost for us.
“He sees what we are trying to do here at Coleraine and he wants to be a part of that, which is fantastic for everyone here at Coleraine.”
Higgins made 40 appearances for Dundalk and was a crucial feature in the side’s EA Sports Cup success – playing in all four matches as well as some memorable performances in the champions title win and was part of the team which clinched a memorable 2-1 victory against Hajduk Split in the Stadion Poljud in July.
It is that type of experience Kearney is looking forward to having about The Showgrounds.
“He has just turned 30 so has plenty of good years ahead of him,” said Kearney.
“He has won the League of Ireland five times and played in Europe countless times.
“That experience will prove vital for our young squad. Having spoke with Stephen Kenny though it’s also Ruaidhri’s influence off the pitch which will be a big plus for us.
“He’s a great lad and has a real hunger about him and he will be a big, big player for us.”
Higgins is looking forward to his new challenge.
“Obviously it’s a tough decision and I leave Dundalk with a heavy heart,” he said.
“But I’m excited about the challenge at Coleraine.
“We have spent the last few days talking about this and Stephen Kenny was reluctant to let me go but we agreed. I can’t thank him enough for all he has done for me throughout my career and we have had some of the best footballing nights together.”
Kearney also revealed he has contacted Linfield about full back Matthew Clarke.
The Bannsiders are back in action this Friday night when they entertain Dungannon Swifts with Kearney hoping to have Higgins available.
“Hopefully Ruaidhri will feature, we are still missing the likes of Beverland, Harkin and McCauley so he will give us a boost going into the game.”