Rob Roy and Rossvale get ready for new season

Action from last season's League Cup clash between Rossvale and Rob Roy.
Action from last season's League Cup clash between Rossvale and Rob Roy.

Junior sides Kirkintilloch Rob Roy and Rossvale are gearing up for the new football season which gets under way next month.

Both sides begin with away matches in the exselgroup Sectional League Cup, the traditional curtain raiser to the league campaign.

As usual both Rabs and ’Vale are in the same five-team section along with Cumbernauld United, Kilsyth Rangers and Dunipace.

Both local sides begin away matches, although Rob Roy will be on familiar ground as their first game is against Cumbernauld United, whose Guy’s Meadow ground they currently share, on Saturday, August 6.

Rob Roy won the section last year to reach the knockout stages, eventually going out to Petershill in the semi-finals, while Cumbernauld went all the way by lifting the trophy itself in 2014.

The same day Rossvale will kick off their competitive season away to Kilsyth Rangers.

The following Wednesday, August 10, Rob Roy are away to Dunipace while on Saturday, August 13, Rob Roy entertain Kilsyth and ’Vale are at home to Dunipace.

Rossvale travel to Cumbernauld on Wednesday, August 17, and are then back at Guy’s Meadow three days later for the final group match against Rob Roy.

Former Bellshill boss Brian McGinty is beginning his first season in charge at Rossvale after replacing Martin Lauchlan halfway through the campaign last season and the squad has undergone a considerable overhaul during the summer.

Out from last seasons’ squad have gone Rhys Donaldson, Craig McGregor, Jon Connolly, Chris Calder, Jay Mackay, Fraser Team, Alex Cassells, Ryan Coll, Jamie Hunter, Ralph Gamba, Robert O’Donnell, Joe Bradley, Corey Irvine and Jamie Brown.

New signings drafted in include Phil Bannister and Steven Tart from Arthurlie, Craig Holmes and Jamie Donnelly from Gartcairn and Gary McGrath and David Shaw from Bellshill Athletic.

Players who have been re-signed from last year are Ross Hepburn, Sean Doherty, David Leadbetter, Erald Krasniqi, Kirk Forbes, Gary Trussler, Dylan Clark and Ryan Spalding.

Rossvale began pre-season training on Monday and have three pre-season away friendlies lined up.

They will take on Scottish Junior Cup finalists Pollok at Newlandsfield on Monday, July 25, Super League First Division side Blantyre Victoria at Castle Park on Wednesday, July 27, and last season’s Central First Division champions Renfrew at New Western Park on Wednesday, August 3.

All three games kick-off at 7pm.

There have also been changes at Rob Roy with boss Stewart Maxwell bringing in centre-back Kevin Green and right-back Scott Walker, from Blantyre Vics, ex-Irvine Meadow defender Craig Buchanan and Linlithgow Rose keeper Michael McInven.

Rabs will play Civil Service Strollers in a pre-season friendly at Christie Gillies Park. Edinburgh, on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

Other pre-season friendlies lined up - all away from home - are Haddington Athletic on Saturday, July 23 (2pm kick-off), Camelon on Tuesday, July 26 (7.30pm) and Petershill on Saturday, July 30 (2pm).

Following the Sectional League Cup group matches the league campaigns get under way on Saturday, August 27.

Rob Roy entertain Largs Thistle in their opening Super League Premier Division fixture while Rossvale begin their Central First Division programme away to manager McGinty’s former club Bellshill Athletic.