Transition time for Rob Roy and manager Maxwell

Rob Roy manager Stewart Maxwell
Rob Roy manager Stewart Maxwell

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy continue their build-up to the new season on Saturday when they travel to Dalmellington to face Ayrshire side Craigmark Burntonians.

Rabs seem to hardly have had time to draw breath from last season which finished late due to their horrendous winter fixture backlog.

It will be a much-changed Rob Roy side this season thanks to a significant number of departures and new arrivals.

But while boss Stewart Maxwell knows it will take time for the newcomers to gel, he was pleased with a successful return to action in last weekend's Petershill Tournament.

Goals by Connor Hughes (2), Sam Mackenzie and Jordan Currie-McLean secured a 4-2 win over St Roch’s in Saturday’s semi-final.

And in Sunday’s final against the hosts Stewart Maxwell’s side defeated Petershill 4-1 - with Lee Gallacher, Mackenzie, Currie-McLean and a trialist on target - to win the tournament for a second season running.

Maxwell said: “We’ve only been in training for a week but because we won it last year we said we’d come back and defend it.

“It had its moments. We were obviously a wee bit off it but we had some purple patches and showed what the players are capable of, individually and collectively.

“Overall I was pleased with the weekend, a lot of the squad got good minutes.”

Rob Roy had been due to travel to Haddington for a friendly on Saturday, but their opponents pulled out. Instead Maxwell’s side will play Craigmark Burntonians away before another friendly at Larkhall next Wednesday and the League Cup matches complete the build-up to their league opener.

That comes on Saturday, August 4, when they go to Cambuslang for their first fixture in the new-look Premiership.

It’s been a short but hectic close season for Maxwell who has had to extensively reshape his squad.

In have come midfielders Jordan Currie-McLean (Perthshire), John Sweeney (Kilbirnie), Graeme Ramage (Kello) and David Waters (Kilsyth Rangers), striker Sam McKenzie (Blantyre Vics) and goalkeeper Andy Finnegan (Tynecastle Amateurs), while forward Connor Hughes has stepped from the under-21s.

Striker Kevin Watt has signed for Linlithgow Rose, midfielder Shaun Fraser and defenders Danny Mackenzie and Danny Boyle have all gone to Pollok and Gary McMenamin and Andy Johnstone have moved to Rossvale.

Stefan Law has gone to Cumbernauld United while Scott Faulds, who only signed towards the end of last season, has gone to Cambuslang.

Maxwell said: “We’ve brought in seven players but are probably in the market for another couple more.

“We’ve kept a team together on a lesser budget for a number of years and eventually some of them are going to pass their sell-by date or get snapped up by bigger clubs.

“There’s always going to be a transitional period when you’ve been a manager for five years.

“I’ve hit that and have to look at bringing the next raft of players in, a bit of experience here or there with a good, few promising young players.

“That’s the market we’re in and as long as the supporters understand that - and obviously the committee do - we’ll battle away and do our best and there are some good early signs.

“But it is still very early. A few more games under our belt and a few more weeks’ training and hopefully we’re ready for our first competitive game.”