Kirkintilloch Rob Roy proved they are serious title contenders with a hard fought 2-0 win over an indisciplined Arthurlie side on Saturday.
The Barrhead outfit, who have proved something of a bogey team to Rabs in recent years, ended the match with nine men as Stewart Maxwell’s side got the win which ensured they will end 2017 as Super League leaders.
It was Arthurlie who began the match positively and should have taken a fourth minute lead.
But John Gemmell’s poorly struck shot was easily saved by Rabs keeper Michael McKinven and the striker squandered another chance minutes later by sending his effort well over the bar.
Rabs saw out ’Lie’s opening attacking spell and began to push forward with Lee Gallacher unlucky to see his low shot flash past the post.
Amadou Kassarate then made a strong run into the home penalty box only for his netbound shot to be cleared by Ryan McGregor for a corner kick.
In the 33rd minute Arthurlie had the ball in the Rabs net when McGregor headed a Ryan Deas cross past McKinven, but it was disallowed for offside.
Eddie McTernan then had a chance to put the home side ahead but his shot was deflected into the side netting.
And five minutes before the interval it was Rabs made the breakthrough.
Scott Walker’s cross into the Arthurlie goalmouth was met by Kassarate and although keeper Grant Hay managed to parry his shot into the air, Kevin Watt nodded in the rebound.
In the 50th minute McKinven kept his side in front, making a splendid save from McGregor.
And two minutes later Rabs increased their lead when Chris Duff fired a superb 20-yard free-kick high into the Arthurlie net.
The Dunterlie Park side attempted to haul themselves back into the match but found McKinven in fine form, saving from Gary Smith to keep Rabs’ two-goal lead intact.
Arthurlie were reduced to 10 men in the 67th minute when ex-Rabs player Ryan Deas kicked out at Kassarate and was shown a straight red card.
With the one man advantage Rabs began to dominate possession against a physical home defence. Kassarate headed a Walker free-kick over the bar before Shaun Fraser fired narrowly past the post.
In the 84th minute Graham Girvan was the second home player to see a red card flashed in his direction for a poor challenge on substitute Gavin Mackie.
By then Rabs had a stranglehold on the game and as time ran out were content to play out the remaining minutes to take all three points from a venue they have often failed to do so in the past.
Boss Maxwell said: “They’ve been a bit of a bogey team since I came in as a manager. We seem to struggle at Barrhead the last few times we’ve been up so it was important to keep our run going and get that monkey off our back.”