Rob Roy started their defence of the Sectional League Cup with a narrow win over Dunipace on Thursday night.
Guy’s Meadow was in great condition after all the summer renovations for a match was preceded with a minute’s silence for the late Kenny Cunningham, a member of the Rabs’ Scottish Cup winning team of 1962.
Manager Stewart Maxwell included summer signings Gary McCulloch, Ross Gallacher and Robert Maguire in a starting eleven which also included, as a trialist, last year’s squad player Sean McCall.
Rob Roy enjoyed lots of possession in the opening spell, dominating against a youthful and well organised Dunipace outfit.
As expected so early in the season a lot of the play was scrappy with misplaced passes and poor first touches but Rob Roy always looked a threat, with Kevin Watt prominent in attack.
Willie Sawyers broke down the left and his cut back was narrowly missed Watt’s head before Watt then had a curling effort that narrowly missed the right hand post.
However the continual rough treatment from the Pace defenders resulted in an early yellow card for the striker as he vented his frustration at the referee.
With the Roy enjoying so much possession and space they were always vulnerable to the counter attack from Dunipace but McKinven in goal was in fine form when called upon.
The Roy came out for the second half intent on increasing the tempo and their pressure resulted in a series of corners.
And from one of the set play situations they made the breakthrough in the 50th minute, when Watt pounced on a loose ball in the six-yard box and drove home after Rabs defender Danny Boyle had caused havoc in the visiting defence with his aerial ability.
Rob Roy then looked to press home their advantage and Sawyers was very unlucky when his audacious chip from the right hand corner of the box evaded keeper Watson but the ball ended up hitting both posts and bounced clear.
Boss Maxwell made a couple of changes, bringing on new signing Gary Carroll and Lee Gallacher to vary the attacking options, and both players made immediate contributions.
Gallacher’s pace and dribbling ability caused the Pace defenders lots of problems and from his delivery Carroll missed a glorious chance to open his account when he blasted high over the bar from eight yards.
In fact the striker should have had a hat-trick with the space of 10 minutes but his efforts were all thwarted.
The home defence was well marshaled by captain Gary McMenamin but he had to come to the Roy’s rescue late on in the game as Dunipace threatened to equalize through substitute Balmer.
However the home side held firm and claimed the three points which was the main objective of the evening.