Maxwell delighted as Rob Roy respond to the title challenge

Shaun Fraser hit a hat-trick for Rob Roy against Kilwinning
Shaun Fraser hit a hat-trick for Rob Roy against Kilwinning

Rob Roy boss Stewart Maxwell was full of praise for his players for responding to a pre-match challenge to them last Saturday.

With most of the other sides near the top of the Super League table engaged on cup duty, Maxwell stressed the importance of their match with Kilwinning Rangers to their title aspirations.

And they responded with one of their best performances of the season and a 5-1 win which took them four points clear.

A delighted Maxwell said: “We were excellent. We went a goal behind against the run of play but after that we played some really good football, especially second half.

“The second half, on a difficult surface, was probably as good as you’ll see a team pass the ball or move the ball quickly from their own box to the opposition’s box.

“We were excellent in terms of our attitude, desire and tempo. I can see why Kilwinning will pick up results, they score goals.

“But for us there wasn’t a failure. Everybody was solid and composed and did their job well, sprinkled with a few outstanding individuals.

“I said before the game it was our biggest game of the season so far. Beith, Auchinleck and Glenafton were all on cup duty so we had a chance to stretch our lead at the top.

“I’m not saying we are title contenders but if you want to be in the mix towards the end of the season it’s games like that you are going to have to win.

“I threw down the gauntlet to them and they responded with a fantastic performance. Last year we wouldn’t have won that game and that told me a lot about my squad.”

Next up this Saturday is a trip to Barrhead to play an Arthurlie side whom Maxwell admits have been difficult opponents for Rabs over the years.

He said: “They are a bogey team for us; I don’t think Rob Roy’s won at Dunterlie for nigh on a decade.

“We’ve not beaten them since I’ve been here [as manager] and I think I only beat them once or twice as a player at the old Adamslie.

“They’ve definitely been a team that we’ve struggled against. It will be difficult, it’s a tight park and they are a strong, physical side. You are going to have to try to win the battle first and then get the ball down and play.

“But it’s a full league card on Saturday so it’s one where if you can go and forge another three points you’re asking the question of everybody else to go and keep winning.

“They are a good side, but we’re a good side.”

Meanwhile Rob Roy now know they will play Musselburgh Athletic at Guy’s Meadow in the fourth round of the Scottish Junior Cup.

Musselburgh beat East Region rivals Lochee United 3-2 in their third round replay on Saturday and Maxwell says the tie, on January 21, is a massive one for the Kirkintilloch club.

He said: “From what I am hearing about them they are a decent side, they are a Premier League side and I’ll get information on them in the next month or so.

“I expect nothing but a tough game. Sometimes in a cup run there are defining moments, games that can kick things on, and I think this is a massive game for Rob Roy.

“I don’t expect it will be easy, but I don’t think they’ll fancy coming through to play Roy Roy either.”