Gartcairn have won the race, in more ways than one, to secure the signature of experienced central defender Rhys Donaldson.

The 29-year-old first emerged as a mainstay of Martin Lauchlan's Rossvale side that won the 2015 Central Second Division  before moving on to Rutherglen Glencairn where another title success - this time topping the West Region First Division pile in 2019 - was the undoubted highlight of a four-year stay.

Injuries severely curtailed his Premier Division appearances for the Ru’Glonians during the following campaign. Yet Donaldson still found himself in demand when Glens coaches George Fotheringham, Ryan McCardle and Craig Palmer joined Arthurlie and made him one of their key signing targets along with highly regarded Glens midfield duo Jordan Leyden and Dale Simeon.

The P.E. teacher by day put himself through all the necessary pre-season training to ensure fitness was not going to be an issue with his new club, only for Arthurlie club officials to withdraw from the inaugural WoSFL season because of the difficulties likely to be faced from Covid-19 restrictions.

A further gesture saw every player on the Barrhead outfit’s books released to "ply their trade elsewhere" and Donaldson found his backline nous was much sought after. However he was never to kick a ball competitively in the 2020/21 season

He revealed: “Initially, I kept myself ticking over by training with Rossvale and Kilsyth Rangers waiting to see if clubs ever managed to play games consistently but that has never been the case due to various Coronavirus lockdowns.

“Stewart Maxwell permitted me to take part in sessions alongside his Rob Roy players which I must say were very enjoyable but since Xmas I’ve been limited to a few workouts with  Brechin City’s players failing rom down here in the West of Scotland.

“Fortunately my job allows me to work on my condition therefore taking more than  a year out of the game will possibly not affect me as it will others,  other than match fitness of course.”

Donaldson had been tipped to pen another deal at Arthurlie with most of their players returning. So his decision to move to rivals Gartcairn raised a few eyebrows.

But he insisted: “Gartcairn are now my local WoSFL team after I recently moved to a  new house in  Drumpellier so having them on my doorstep was definitely a factor behind going there .

“Being totally  honest  though it’s the speed of the many changes at the club which  turned my head as much as anything because  you cannot help but feel Gartcairn  are all but  geared  up to  be SFA Licensed before much longer.

“Their M.T.C. Park pitch y already had floodlights and a new 4G astro-grass surface has  been installed which is about to  be partially enclosed by a couple of 300 seater stands and there are further infrastructure plans in the offing. 

“And what’s every bit as impressive is the focus is also being directed on what’s needed on the pitch where the manager Willie Kinniburgh  comes across as very knowledgeable and has designs on putting together a strong playing squad.

“I’d go so far as to say if all his professed signing targets come on board then Gartcairn‘s immediate aim of getting out of the Conference Leagues will become a reality.”

This week brought yet another addition to the ambitious Lanarkshire outfit with Eddie Wolecki Black joining, formerly of Glasgow City, Celtic and most recently Motherwell.

He has been brought in as director of football and should have no problem striking up a working relationship with Kinniburgh who was one of his assistants at Fir Park.

And the desire shown by his new club has likewise made a good impression on the former Montrose and Airdrie gaffer because his quoted reply to being asked this week, 'How big can Gartcairn be? ” was simply: “How big is a piece of string?”

In other news, Rob Roy have been left disappointed after yet another delay to the building of their new Kirkintilloch based stadium being overseen by East Dumbartonshire Council.

Work was expected to start towards the end of March but that did not go to plan, much to the frustration of Rabs team boss Stewart Maxwell. He said: "We were told work on the facility would be underway by late March and  were thinking that by Christmas, we could be on  the pitch helping alleviate the amount of games to be played …a potential 50 in total given we have a definite 38 league games .as well as taking part in three Cup competitions.”

Meanwhile, an announcement from WoSFL Board officials has confirmed the previously stated intention to kickstart the new 2021/22 season on Saturday 17th July though it continues to be unclear whether Coronavirus restrictions will prohibit fans being in attendance or the use of dressing rooms.