There was a time, not all that long ago, when Lanark United couldn’t see past team manager Jamie McKenzie.

But four competitive games in charge (prior to lockdown), three wins and a solitary defeat later, finds the ex-Partick Thistle and Albion Rovers signing heading for the Moor Park exit gates (along with loyal No2 Gary Flint) following an abrupt parting of the ways with the WoSFL Conference League club.

The 40-year-old's previously successful stints at the helms of Forth Wanderers and Gartcairn had brought the centenary celebrating Yowes to turn to him when erstwhile gaffer Colin Slater tendered his resignation just one game into the 2020/21 season (later abandoned) back when Covid-19 was particularly rife.

More than a tad ironic therefore to learn former United defensive stalwart Slater has agreed to take up the reins and look after team matters on an interim basis while club officials deliberate over their next move in the wake of McKenzie’s shock departure coming a matter of  two weeks before the 2021/22 WoSFL campaign kicks off in earnest.

Last night, the outgoing Jamie, was staying tight-lipped as to reasons for standing down however he strongly hinted at all not being well behind the scenes.

He said: “Things didn’t work out the way I wanted it to work out and there were people at the club feeling the same.

“President George Reid’s backing was never less than terrific in my seven months term at Lanark and I cannot thank him enough but I do believe certain other people will be happy I’m away now.

“Recruitment of players ahead of the new season was certainly a thorny issue particularly during these Covid times and I accept it’s my responsibility as team manager to have contingencies up my sleeve.

“But how do you make plans when all of 19 players are available to me last Wednesday night only for  12 of them to call-off before Saturday’s  friendly match against Blantyre Vics due to a mix of injury, work commitments and self-isolation requirements.

“The game had to be postponed and the same had happened previously when we were due to face Cumnock not least because  I just didn’t see the point of pulling in players whom I had no intention of signing just  to fill jerseys.

“It’s a waste of their time and energy as well as mine though it’s not a view shared by everyone."

McKenzie has never come across as the retiring type and is defiantly showing no signs of taking a backward step.

He added: “I’ve received several offers to go in and coach at clubs since word broke of me leaving Lanark and the interest is both welcome and flattering.

“But right now I want to hold back from rushing in just to stay involved in the game because I’d love my next move to be the right one."

Meanwhile, there was none of the usual pomp and ceremony to greet the early rounds of the 2021/22 Scottish Junior Cup being drawn last weekend at Thomson Park, home of Lochee United.

The decision not to renew their SJFA membership saw Premier Division quartet  Clydebank, Kilwinning Rangers, Rutherglen Glencairn, and Darvel, semi-finalists last time out in 2019 (when the competition was cancelled at the last eight stage ) missing from the hat.

The draw still managed to produce several plum first round contests ties though, most notably the all-Premier clashes of Troon v Benburb and Cumbernauld United v Kilbirnie Ladeside.

While, Greenock supporters will be salivating over the prospect of taking top flight Rob Roy’s scalp down at Ravenscraig Stadium. (Ties to be played on the weekend of Saturday 21st August).

A second round of various ifs and buts, scheduled for five weeks later (weekend of Saturday 25th September), undoubtedly acted to put a dampener on things however the juices were again flowing with the likelihood of Cumnock locking horns with long standing rivals Glenafton, assuming Mick McCann’s men dispose of first round opponents Lochee Harp up on Tayside.

Full second round draw 

Maryhill v Coupar Angus or Yoker Athletic,Cumnock v Lochee Harp or Glenafton, Blairgowrie v Troon or Benburb, Lesmahagow or Dundee North End v Colony Park or Hurlford Utd, Rossvale v Cambuslang Rangers or Fauldhouse Utd, Irvine Vics v Pollok or Maybole, Newmains Utd or Dalry Thistle v Bathgate Thistle or Vale of Leven, Kirriemuir Thistle or Petershill v Stoneywood Parkvale or Wishaw, Dundee Downfield or Blantyre Vics v Saltcoats Vics or West Calder Utd, Burghead Thistle or Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Maryhill, Aberdeen University v Bridge of Don or Lochee Utd, Carnoustie Panmure v Longside or Fraserburgh Utd, Largs Thistle or Glasgow United v Larkhall Thistle, Glentannar  v Greenock or Rob Roy,Dufftown or Letham F.C.v Forfar Utd or Muirkirk,Carluke Rovers or Sunnybank v Auchinleck Talbot or Montrose  Roselea,

StAnthonys v Ashfield or Islavale, Hall Russell Utd or Renfrew v Lugar Boswell or Craigmark, Glasgow Perthshire or  Ardeer Thistle v Scone Thistle or New Elgin , Brechin  Vics v Newmachar Utd ,Irvine Meadow or Deveronside v Arbroath Vics, Livingston Utd or Stoneyburn v Cumbernauld Utd or Kilbirnie Ladeside, Rothie Rovers or Kilsyth Rangers v Arthurlie or Whitehills, Ellon Utd or Dundee St James v Johnstone Burgh or Forfar West End, Armadale Thistle v Dyce or Buchanhaven Hearts, Dundee East Craigie or St Rochs v Banchory St Tiernans, Culter or Hermes v Beith or Maud, Dundee Violet or Thorniewood Utd v Whitletts Vics, Cruden Bay or Lanark Utd v East Kilbride Thistle or Broughty Athletic, Nairn St Ninians or Shotts Bon Accord  v Kello Rovers, Gartcairn  or Aberdeen East End v Forres Thistle or Tayport. 

PLAYING TONIGHT (Various kick off times apply)

Glasgow Utd v Pollok, Arthurlie v Vale of Clyde, Cumbernauld Utd v Gartcairn, Vale of Leven v Goldenhill B.C, Blantyre Vics v Shotts Bon Accord, Rutherglen Glencairn v Petershill,  Ashfield v Harestanes.