Pollok may have done Matty Grant a huge favour by persuading him to sign on the dotted line at Newlandsfield.

Less than two weeks away from the start of the WoSFL season, the much sought after 19-year-old has become Lok gaffer Murdie McKinnon’s sixth close season recruit  following on from the acquisitions of Jonathan Lyon, on loan from Morton, Alex McWaters, ex-Kilwinning Rangers, Callum Graham (Ashfield), Evan Horne (East Stirling)  and Kyle Bradley (East Kilbride FC).

Coatbridge based Grant earned his offer of a Lok playing contract by turning in eye-catching displays in pre-season friendly outings against Yoker Athletic and Auchinleck Talbot even if his debut at home to the Ayrshiremen was restricted to a 13 minute cameo appearance off the bench.

A burning drive to succeed in the game has Grant determined to make the most of his signing for “probably the biggest club in the WoSFL”, but every bit as important to this way of thinking was the opportunity to potentially make his mark in his own preferred position of right wing back.

He revealed: "A number of clubs had all been in touch to sound me out over my future plans and I had put them all on hold to sign a short term deal with Bellshill in order to take part in the Breathing Space Cup pre-season tournament which we won.

“Staying there would have been the easy thing to do because the gaffer Derek Wilson and his assistant David Menelaws have been good to me and I have really enjoyed mixing alongside the other guys in the team.

“However I’ve played all over the place since going there, mainly as a winger because that’s  the position where they think I’m best suited , but I see myself as a full back that likes to get  forward and thankfully Murdie agrees.

“He took up a recommendation from  Baggus (Ian Penman), one of his coaches who had watched me playing for Bellshill ,and  telephoned midway through last month to invite  me in to  Newlandsfield  where  he felt I showed enough in training and in  trialist appearances to make him think I could  do a job for his team.”

Grant then added: “My new team mates have gone out of their way to make me welcome and I’ve been blown away by their professionalism  and it has to be said the whole set-up  at Pollok which is on a different scale to  anything I’ve ever  experienced before.

“And Murdie says the atmosphere generated by Pollok’s regular 600/700 home crowds is something else to savour so now I cannot wait for the Covid restrictions to finish and see what the place looks like  packed with fans.”

The teenager has lost out on a further chance to impress with the cancellation of today’s friendly contest away to Johnstone Burgh however there’s no such misfortune in store for a number of other Premier Division newcomers.

Down in Ayrshire, Beith fans will appreciate a first Bellsdale Park sighting of highly regarded winger Josh Fowler, previously of St Anthonys, when Bryan Young’s side host the visit of  Petershill.

Heading deeper into the heartlands finds Nigerian born striker Smart Osadolar preparing to spearhead  Cumnock’s  forward line at home to Gretna 2008 from the Lowland League.

The Nock’s starting line-up is also likely to include new midfield arrivals Owen Bell (Dalbeattie Star) and one time Kilmarnock signing Aidan Berry as gaffer Tony McInally pulls out all the stops to prevent coming off second best to the visitors’ management team of Rowan Alexander and Mark Shanks, both former Townhead Park  team managers in their own right.

All three players debuted in last Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Glasgow United which saw 30-year-old Osadolar attract fulsome praise from his latest gaffer.

McInally insisted: “I’m absolutely delighted to land someone of Smart strong running, powerful and no little experience attributes.

“He showed up well last weekend and provided us with a goal threat at the top end of the park despite an acute lack of match practice so I can’t help but feel there’s better to come as he gets fitter and more accustomed to his new surroundings.”

And almost certain to be included in the Rutherglen Glencairn travelling party heading East to face Bo’Ness United today is the imposing figure of 28-year-old striker Kit Cummins, after he was signed from Glenafton in midweek.

On a sadder note, one never likes to hear about the passing of a Junior footballer worthy as is the case with the demise last Sunday of the Ru’Glonian club’s former winger Steve Gray at the relatively young age of 57.

A somewhat inglorious beginning to his football career at Petershill led to him moving to Cambuslang Rangers where he rose to prominence playing under Billy Ditchburn and latterly the legendary ex-Ayr United midfielder Davie McCulloch whose admiration for Steve’s potent mix of skill and grit meant he did not hesitate to come back in for his former playing ace after taking up the reins at  Southcroft Park.

Gray and older sibling Harry duly established themselves as integral figures in a ball-playing Glens side, inclusive of Martin Nelson, Stevie Howie and David Malarky, that famously made it all the way to the 1986 West of Scotland Cup Final (a trophy never won by the 126 year old club) only to suffer a narrow 3-2 defeat at the hands of Auchinleck Talbot in a classic finale.

Long in the tooth Glens supporters will have fond recollections of that Cup run however my abiding memory to this day is of their team working a wonderfully inventive corner kick ploy, early into the Meadow Park contest, which saw a young Nelly initially stand over the ball before moving away as if appearing to leave it for his wildly gesticulating team mate Gray to take instead.

But the ball had been ever so marginally played out of the arc (and yes the referee was in the know) so Talbot’s vastly experienced defenders were caught totally unawares and left bemused and appealing in vain for foul play as the winger swiftly wheeled round with the ball and took a couple of touches as he advanced well inside the penalty box before setting up Howie to score the final’s opening goal from point blank range.

Undoubtedly a well-rehearsed move straight from the training ground but still one requiring skill, nerve, pace and cheek in equal measures …all qualities Gray possessed in abundance and then some.

Covid restrictions will limit the numbers of those wishing to pay their respects however funeral plans are in place for next Friday 16 July when an 8.30am Mass at St Brigid’s in Toryglen will be followed by a 9.30am service at the Linn Crematorium.

PLAYING TODAY (Various Kick Off times apply) 

Auchinleck Talbot v Penicuik Athletic,St Rochs v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Cumnock v Gretna 2008  ,  Blantyre Vics v Neilston, Bo’ness Utd v Rutherglen Glencairn , Girvan v Creetown, Cumbernauld Colts v St Cadocs, Lugar Boswell v Dalry Thistle, Luncarty v Kilsyth Rangers, Largs Thistle v Bonnyton Thistle, Muirkirk v St Peters, Wishaw v Whitletts Vics, Maybole v  Hurlford Utd , Forth Wanderers v  Lanark Utd, Gartcairn v Rossvale,Irvine Meadow v Kilwinning Rangers,  Clydebank v Dalbeattie Star, Renfrew v Troon, Johnstone Burgh v Kello Rovers,Irvine Vics v Drumchapel Utd, Cumbernauld Utd v Vale of Clyde, Port Glasgow v Maryhill, Upper Annandale v Lesmahagow. Vale of Leven v Rob Roy,Beith v Petershill,Glenafton v Glenafton AFC, Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Ashfield , Shotts Bon Accord v East Kilbride Thistle, Glasgow University v Cambria.