DUMBARTON winger Andy Stirling is set to join Championship rivals Queen of the South after signing a two-year pre-contract with the Dumfries side.

The 27-year-old joined the Sons at the start of the season from Stranraer, scoring his first goal against St Mirren in September.

Stirling has been in impressive form since the start of the year, and has solidified his place in Stevie Aitken’s side since the new year.

The former St Mirren academy player first spoke to Queens boss Gary Naysmith in February, and later put pen to paper, and he will join up with the full-time side at the end of the season.

And Sons boss Aitken conceded Stirling’s offer wasn’t something Sons could match.

Aitken added: “He’s a threat going forward and he’s very pleasing on the eye when he’s got the ball at his feet.

“There’s nobody any quicker with the ball at his feet in the division than he has, he’s been great for us and it’s another compliment to the club that it’s another player that’s come in at part-time level that’s gone full-time and that proves that we’re doing something right.

“We can’t offer what other teams can, it’s not as if it’s down to us and I’m delighted for him, he wants to give it another go at full-time football. We got the best out of him at Stranraer from Dunfermline and we’ve got the best out of him again.”

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter:

It did admittedly take Stirling some time to settle into the side. The winger spent much of the winter period in and out of the first-team squad, but he has been a key part of the Sons since the beginning of January.

Aitken said: "It’s like everything else, you have to work hard to get yourself into the team. We just had to work him a wee bit harder, and work on different bits of his game. It’s the Championship, not League One and there’s a difference.

"But he’s responded well and he’s been terrific, every other manager has commented about how good he was, again on Saturday he looked really good and as long as he can do the business for us till the end of the season then we’ll wish him well when he makes his move.

"It’s another compliment to the club that it’s another player that’s come in at part-time level that’s gone full-time and that proves that we’re doing something right."

The manager said he was was unaware of any of his other players being offered pre-contracts from other teams, at this time no players have committed to Dumbarton for next season, with Robert Thomson also agreeing a pre-contract with Morton.

He added: “I daresay a lot are talking as the other players are out of contract, unfortunately at part-time level 90 per cent of contracts are only for one-year deals and you’re liable to lose players and we’ve unfortunately lost a couple.”