STEWART MAXWELL’S optimism regarding Rob Roy’s future could be seen as a huge leap of faith looking at his side’s run of WoSFL results - five defeats and just two wins from seven outings - prior to last week’s declaration of the 2020/21 season being null and void.

But the manager has no qualms that when the football returns, his side will be in a much better place, though there is still more work to be done.

“I wouldn’t have thought of us as the finished article even if we’d won five and lost twice,” he said. “Look, you would not have been far off the mark in describing us as work in progress before a ball was kicked in anger and you probably still can now, though I do believe there is a far better structure to the team and fewer areas needing to be improved.

“In more ways than one, the season just finished was always about rebuilding rather than results, so it’s immensely satisfying to finally see signs emerging of a payback for our hard work on the pitch as well as off it. I’ve long been a firm believer in ripping things up to start again if needs be and this will be the third and probably most important reset carried out in my seven seasons here as manager.

“Rob Roy as a club is on the cusp of a lot of exciting developments with work scheduled to start on the building of our new stadium over the next few weeks and the hope is our supporters will be similarly stimulated by having a stream of promising players coming up through the youth ranks and into our side.

“Finally having a place to call home has helped no end in terms of re-signing those players we wanted from this season’s squad and now the way forward for us is to keep everyone together, young and old."

Rabs seasoned skipper Scott Walker, brothers Ian and Scott Gold, Danny O’Halloran and marksman Alex Cassells are among the older heads persuaded to put pen to paper for another season under Maxwell who has also snapped up midfielders Fraser Scott (Gartcairn), Anton McGuigan (St Rochs), Jamie Young (Yoker Athletic), Michael Baber (Stirling University) and Aaron Ross (B.S.C. Glasgow), along with goalkeeper Craig Burns (Glenafton).

Making the step up from Rob Roy Under 20s ranks are Sean McMonagle, Aaron Bryson and Kian Gilday, while defender Michael McAnespie (Cumbernauld Colts) will be determined to impress after sitting out last season because of injury.

“A sprinkling of experience might be needed to balance our heavy investment in youngsters, but there’s no denying we are in the fortunate position of having a 20-strong playing squad fixed up at this very early stage of the season," Maxwell said.

“Having so many newcomers could be problematic in terms of settling into new surroundings so the plan is to get pre-season training underway with one night per week sessions throughout the month of May - Coronavirus restrictions permitting - with the aim of bringing all the guys together. And gradually, we can then step up the intensity to keep players ticking over but always with the WoSFL start date in mind. I’d love nothing more than for each and every one of them to cut the mustard so starting so early might be the ideal preparation for what’s to come.”