Not everyone will agree with Paul Maxwell’s Dream Team, however what is indisputable is there are few better than the Ashfield boss for coming up with a potent mix of current and bygone picks.

Maxi, who turned 36 last week, was never one for wasting words, not when his performances on the pitch with Royal Albert, Ashfield, Irvine Meadow and now in a second stint with the Possil outfit, could make players and spectators sit up and take notice of him.


“I lost count of the occasions when the former Largs Thistle goalkeeper Stevie Connick broke my heart and he had few peers when it came to saving penalties while every bit as outstanding and close to unbeatable every time I saw him play was Stefan Gonat (Clydebank).

“But when push comes to shove, I cannot see past Andy Leishman at Auchinleck Talbot who is simply top drawer in my book and still going strong nowadays.”


“Stevie Aitchison’s better known for playing central but I’m including him at right-back because he is capable of playing anywhere across the back and on the other flank I’ve plumped for the more attack minded Gordon Pope who is 7/10 or better every time he pulls on an Auchinleck jersey.

“Left side was a difficult choice, not least for having to ignore the claims of my former team-mate Roberto Halliday and Mark Sideserf (Pollok), someone I’ve always rated highly.

“Being an old-fashioned striker who liked the aerial jousts persuaded me to look for a bit of height in my centre-backs and I did consider ex-Ashfield stopper Jim Smith, Kevin Twaddle (Irvine Meadow), Kyle McChesney (Glenafton) and that man of many clubs, Lee McShane, whom opposing fans loved to hate yet a nicer guy you couldn’t meet off the pitch.

“But I just couldn’t ignore the fact I never seemed to play well against big Hurlford United stopper Chris Robertson, who was so powerful in the air, and I would team him alongside my ex-Irvine Meadow team-mate Mark “Sparky” Campbell who could be every bit as uncompromising as big Chris but also used his great experience to read danger before it happened.”


“I can remember playing up front when Gary McCann (Pollok) made his debut at Ashfield after stepping up from Arsenal Boys Club and thinking straightaway that he had everything in the locker to go right to the very top of the Junior tree and let me add that his attitude to the game is an example to any young player coming into the Juniors.

“Bryan Young (Auchinleck) and Darren Christie (Beith) were in my thoughts but Gary tops the pile.”

“A name from Clydebank’s recent past, Ciaran McElroy, came into consideration for the left-sided role as again did ex-Ashfield team-mate Halliday however Maxi felt the sheer energy and drive of Paul “Taz” McKenzie should win the day.

“Having two forward-going types down the sides caused me to take stock of what was needed in the central areas to provide the correct balance which is why I’ve gone for the very combative Steven White (Auchinleck), a huge contributor to their many trophy wins down through the years, to act as a sitter and get in the faces of opposing teams.

“Martin Nelson could have exerted great engine-room control and was in my thoughts but I just wanted more aggression in there.

“Alongside Whitey, I swithered over Gary Fleming (Irvine Meadow) and Pollok’s current top scorer Shaun Frazer who was sensational when we played together at Ashfield and the Medda but I have to go with my former skipper Mark Thomson (Ashfield) whom I rate as the best player I’ve seen in the Juniors by a country mile.

“Thommo can play 60-yard passes but is just as adept at keeping possession and was a free kick specialist ,good for 20 goals a season in his prime yet his versatility probably worked against him as it meant he played as m any games at the back as he did in the middle of the park where I thought he was at his best.”


Maxi remains a huge admirer of Richie Barr whom he teamed up with ever so briefly at Irvine Meadow and is also a fan of David Gormley (Auchinleck) and Robert Downs (Pollok) whom he believes would figure highly in any Junior strikers pecking order however the prolific penalty box attributes of Lok legend Bryan Dingwall could not be overlooked.

He said: “Dingy was just a goalscoring machine at Pollok and I recall seeing him later in his career, both with Bellshill Athletic and at amateur level and he was still banging them in and celebrating like a two-year-old.

“He was special and I’d love to have seen him paired with a target-man type like Brian Slaven (Talbot) or Darian McKinnon (Clydebank) however a very fitting partner for him up front would be the Auchinleck spearhead Graham Wilson who was a team mate of mine at Dumbarton back when he was a promising left back who had stepped up from Cumnock.

“Graham has reinvented himself going back to the Juniors or maybe it was Tommy Sloan’s doing but regardless, he is by far and away the best front man currently going the rounds.”

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