ONE can't help but feel that Danny Boyle is the type who may need to be protected from himself when it comes to deciding whether he should continue his football career during these pandemic-affected times.

The 30-year-old is a dentist when he’s not operating as a ball-winning centre-back for latest club Gartcairn, his fifth in the past four years, and there can be no denying dentistry is one of the professions to have suffered more than most as a result of coronavirus-imposed restrictions with the need for close contact with patients resulting in the most stringent of hygiene precautions being adopted.

Indeed, services were only given the go-ahead to resume as recently as mid-August, coincidentally the same time that Danny took up a new dentist post near Falkirk, and nobody has gone to greater lengths ensuring compliance with virus guidelines on and off the pitch.

"Moving to my new job is the reason behind my having to walk away from my last club Darvel," revealed the big stopper.

"The travelling involved in going down to Ayrshire straight from work unfortunately meant I was going to be restricted to just one night's training and that wasn't fair on my team-mates or the gaffer Michael Kennedy, a great guy who has been nothing short of terrific in his dealings with me.

"He is building something really special at Darvel and I would have loved being part of it but sadly it wasn't to be and I can only count myself fortunate to have landed at yet another highly ambitious club in Gartcairn.

"Having their ground only 10 minutes' drive from my home was undoubtedly a factor in going there but I was also very impressed with the team plans of manager Willie Kinniburgh and his coach John McGowan. 

"They were both previously involved with Partick Thistle and have used their senior contacts to great effect through attracting top-notch signings in the likes of Gary Harkins, Steven Saunders and big striker Martin Grehan, whom I remember being a bit of a handful when he previously played in the Juniors with Kilbirnie Ladeside.

"Saunders, who you must remember was capped by Scotland at full international level, has really looked the part and could be a revelation at WOSFL level... if we ever get playing games, of course."

Boyle, who stepped up to the Junior ranks from Drumchapel United (now a fellow Conference club) does not believe his dropping down a division to join Gartcairn should be looked upon as a retrograde step.

He insisted: "A number of Premier Division outfits were in touch once my availability was put out there but if I was a gambling man, I wouldn’t bet on any other team finishing above Darvel I’ve played for all of them.

"Helping to get Gartcairn into the top flight is a different kind of challenge and it's one I’m relishing even though it's disappointing to think the club will now be denied the chance to move up this season because of the WOSFL's cobbled-together regulations.

"A lot has been said on social media about clubs not being punished if they withdraw, but not having promotion or relegation over the coming season is seriously punishing clubs like ours who are showing a willingness to participate and a binding decision should have been made by the powers-that-be.

"The guys at Gartcairn are an honest bunch who are risking livelihoods because they love nothing more than to play football at a decent level… and they deserve better."

This afternoon sees Gartcairn hosting the visit of Port Glasgow in their long-awaited WOSFL Conference B opener at the end of a week which has brought another trio of member clubs, Shettleston, Lesmahagow and Royal Albert to retract their original decision in favour of withdrawing from the 2020/21 league campaign. 

Sixteen clubs in total have now withdrawn and  the WOSFL granting a further period of grace by allowing clubs to make the call to pull out four weeks further down the line by the deadline date of 8pm on Saturday 14th November could see that number grow significantly.

Already, one fears for the continuing participation of newcomers St Cadoc's YC following a recent announcement of a parting of the ways with team boss Johhny Millar (he only took up the role in April) and his backroom staff brought about by a change of club  strategy in light of the prospect of the no promotion or relegation dictate.

The Newton Mearns-based outfit have declared an intention to realign their goals and  redirect investment into their ever burgeoning youth set-up which is totally at odds with their stated commitment of fulfilling their WOSFL obligations as well as this week’s high-profile appointment of ex-Glenafton gaffer Craig McEwan as Millar's replacement.

The seasoned Southy's most pressing task could well be persuading the backbone of former Beith stalwarts to have joined St Cadoc's out of loyalty to Millar, most notably Stephen Grindlay, John Sheridan, Kevin Green, Joe Bradley and Kenny McLean.

Thought to have already moved away is ex-Mighty midfield powerhouse Jamie Wilson, reputed to have dropped into the amateur ranks while on the incoming front, one hears McEwan is hopeful of brokering loan deals for his former Glenafton skipper Craig Menzies and striker Chris Dallas, currently a signed Pollok player.

Another of McEwan's former Loch Park charges, winger Lee Gallagher, has been loaned out to Clydebank while among other players on the books of withdrawn clubs to have completed loan deals are Whitletts Vics midfielder Louis Kerr (to Hurlford United) and a seven-strong Petershill contingent - Marc Waters and David Aubrey (to Kilsyth Rangers), Fraser Team and Jordan Marshall (to Cumbernauld Colts) and the trio of Chris Ketterer, Paul Callander and Antony Eadie (to Renfrew).

Dallas going out on loan, aka Newlandsfield team-mate Darren Christie (to BSC Glasgow) would be subject to a prompt a recall by parent club Pollok if they receive notification from the SJFA to play last season's Scottish Junior Cup  semi-final clash against Auchinleck Talbot or Hurlford United which supporters will remember was carried over due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions back in March.

Word on the grapevine reckons the surviving participants, Darvel, Broughty Athletic, and Beith are in the other half of the draw have been given a heads-up to prepare for playing out the prestigious competition early in the New Year and that likelihood is set to scupper alleged loan approaches for Talbot front man Jamie Glasgow from both BSC and ambitious Darvel.

Playing today (kick-offs 2pm) 
WOSFL Premier Division Beith v Rossvale, Benburb v Cumbernauld Utd, Blantyre Vics v Hurlford Utd, Bonnyton Thistle v Troon, Rob Roy v Darvel, Largs Thistle v Clydebank. 
WOSFL Conference League A Bellshill Athletic v Renfrew, Craigmark v Ardeer Thistle, Kello Rovers v Muirkirk, Lesmahagow v Annbank Utd, Maryhill v Ashfield, St Roch's v Glasgow University. 
WOSFL Conference League B Carluke Rovers v Wishaw, Gartcairn v Port Glasgow, Greenock v Johnstone Burgh, Neislton v Lugar Boswell, St Cadoc's v Forth Wanderers. 
WOSFL Conference League C Dalry Thistle v Newmains Utd, Glasgow Perthshire v Royal Albert, Kilsyth Rangers v Drumchapel United, Lanark Utd v Thorniewood Utd. 
Soccer Shop Challenge Cup. First Round Thornton Hibs v Rutherglen Glencairn, Vale of Clyde v East Kilbride Thistle, Maybole v Vale of Leven, Easthouses Lily v Larkhall Thistle, Irvine Vics v St Anthonys,Sauchie v Kilwinning Rangers, Jeanfield Swifts v Lochgelly Albert, Bonnyrigg Rose v Newtongrange Star, Broxburn Athletic v Creetown, Spartans v Kinnoul.