Just as some people were beginning to question whether Danny Boyle was a spent force, so the towering stopper has emerged at the heart of Cumbernauld United’s backline and been handed the team captain’s armband.

Supporters will delight in the acquisition of Boyle from Gartcairn as it heralds the renewal of his once-acclaimed partnership with Tony Fraser (now United manager) that previously derived a silverware reward with the 2014 Sectional League Cup triumph over Blantyre Vics.

Boyle’s eye-catching displays in that John Queen-steered side were to set him off on seven years of travels. His initial transfer to neighbors Rob Roy was followed by high-profile moves to Auchinleck Talbot, Pollok and Darvel before dropping into the Conference Leagues with ambitious Gartcairn for last season’s Covid-wrecked campaign.

But now he’s back at home town club Cumbernauld and the wiser - but no less competitive - stopper is eagerly looking forward to the new WoSFL season and to leading out his team-mates in their first pre-season friendly match tonight when heading out on the road to face Sauchie.

He said: "Nobody knows my playing strengths and limitations better than Tony after sweeping behind me in that Queeny team so my heart was always set on coming here once he declared a signing interest.

“Being honest I’d all but signed the forms on a deal to join Kilsyth Rangers where the prospect of teaming up again with Willie Sawyers, Gavin Mackie and Scott Upton were big factors, but playing in the Premier Division with Cumbernauld and under Tony and his assistant Chris Zok, another former team-mate, appealed even more.

“And yes, it’s very early days but my decision is looking the right one as I’ve been impressed with the dressing room mix of experience and youthful enthusiasm supplied by Tony’s signings up to now.

“There’s also a strong bond from a handful of us coming from the town and going to the same school which can only work in our favour, and I do believe we have the makings of a decent team - especially with Tony at the helm.

“His great knowledge of the game and attention to detail in terms of training routines and preparation for matches is first class and he is getting the best out of his players so we might just be the top league’s surprise package.”

Boyle is not the only Guys Meadow newcomer of late as fledgling team boss Fraser has also added Scott McHaffie (Dunipace), Jay Blair (Blantyre Vics) Kieran Hannoway (Rutherglen Glencairn Under 20’s) Aaron O’Hare (Wishaw) and young goalkeeping prospect Lewis Sanderson.

Tony explained: “I’m happy at how things are shaping up and we are in a good place after 4 weeks on the training ground. But the bigger tests lie in wait starting with tonight’s tester at Sauchie.

“Every team has a crying need to be defensively sound and big Danny, who is only 31 years of age and has his best years I front of him, is a key signing because he has few peers as a ball-winner and the hope is he and Jordan Kennedy can form a strong partnership.

“To this end, we’ve also brought in another goalkeeper in Chris McLuskey from Stenhousemuir, who has played at Senior level ever since he and I were team-mates together at Pollok. "His coming on board here, despite a  number of other clubs chasing his signature, is a real feather in our cap.

”After Sauchie, we travel up to face Kennoway Star Hearts on Saturday and have another five matches lined up before our first competitive outing at home to Rossvale.

“Getting points on the board early is our aim so all our pre-season contests are with this in mind.”

Elsewhere , two weeks after the resignation of Irvine Vics boss Brian McLuckie comes word of the  Conference League outfit having appointed former Maryhill gaffer Alan Kelly, who will be assisted by loyal backroom team cohorts Kevin Lafferty and Will Devlin as the new men at the Victoria Park helm.

Playing Tonight (Kick-off 7pm unless stated)

Dalry Thistle v Lesmahagow, Fauldhouse Utd v Blantyre Vics, Johnstone Burgh v Clydebank, Pollok v Linlithgow Rose, Maybole v Troon, Rutherglen Glencairn v Cambuslang Rangers, Largs Thistle v Morton (7.15pm), Sauchie v Cumbernauld Utd (7.30pm), Renfrew v West Park Utd (8pm).