Listening to team boss Murdie McKinnon’s post-match comments on  Pollok’s 1-0 victory over Darvel on Saturday, his emotions still raw after a tense and never less than absorbing Newlandsfield encounter, there was the realisation that his side had just laid down a marker for their Premier Division title aspirations.

No ifs or buts about it, the Southsiders fully merited their win on the day so Murdie could be forgiven for lavishing fulsome praise on his charges while not affording the merest of passing mentions to an  opening spell that might have saw the Ayrshiremen 2-0 to the good.

He insisted: “We had to be on the money today to overcome a top quality side packed with skilful experienced players and thankfully we were.

“The guys played our game plan brilliantly, surrendering the ball and standing off the Darvel players at times as well as knowing when to press the trigger to go and win it back

“Theirs was a marvellous all-round team performance and one we can definitely use as a springboard to atone for the disappointment of dropping five points in our last couple of league matches .

“Today was undoubtedly a case of us being very very good rather than Darvel being poor.”

A clearly delighted Murdie waxed: “I’m not usually one for picking out individuals but David Brownlie was terrific on his debut while Shaun Fraser’s performance as a makeshift striker at the top end of the pitch was simply out of this world.

“Everyone knows he plays on the line at times but Shaun is super intelligent and when he uses his skill and directness to get at opponents like he did today then he’s close to unplayable."

Pollok’s still under construction backline found themselves under the cosh right from the first whistle and a driven cross to the back post which saw visiting full back Jordan Allan miss an absolute snip from point blank range was followed by a close range Darren Miller lob that grazed the face of the crossbar and seemed destined to drop over the line until the home team’s Danny McKenzie came to the rescue with a last gasp clearance.

Darvel continued to look the more likelier of the sides however they were rocked to the core in 16 minutes when Ian McShane made an absolute hash of an attempted clearance from near the bye-line and only succeeded in sclaffing  the ball across his own penalty box allowing  Lok striker Josh Weir to dive forward and direct a powerful header into the net for1-0.

Buoyed by their breakthrough and roared on by the vast majority of an 800 plus watching throng, Pollok were now asserting a dominance of the ball and loud but unsuccessful claims for a penalty kick ensued when Weir went down under a Daryl Meggatt challenge prior to the hitman coming close to doubling his goals tally when a Matty Grant pass sent him clear through on goal only for Darvel keeper Chris Truesdale to save his  attempted  lob shot.

The interval introduction  of former Lok front man Alan McKenzie was a clear indication of the Ayrshire outfit’s desire to get back on level terms however the growing defensive dimension supplied by Brownlie , Bryan Wharton  and Mark Sideserf  ensured  nothing of any note was allowed to trouble  Lok no 1 Jordan Longmuir.

Darvel were the busier of the two teams in terms of possession but their tendency to over-pass along with the wobbles caused by Pollok’s harassment tactics led to the better goalscoring opportunities falling to the home  side …Del Esplin firing a 22 yard shot just wide , Fraser coming even closer with a snap header and Truesdale bravely saving at the feet of Callum Graham after the Lok substitute had robbed a hesitant Jason Marr to leave himself with only the keeper to beat .

Darvel’s display clearly did not best please gaffer Mick Kennedy who said: “We started well and could arguably have been two goals  in front with only  ten minutes on the clock however  the next 80 minutes were nowhere near good enough .

“Nobody can argue Pollok didn’t deserve to win but we caused our own problems by the amount of times we did not move the ball at the right tempo to negate their pressing game and were caught in the transition of possession.

“Constantly taking 3 or 4  touches is tantamount to asking the opposition to close you down and we simply did not learn from our mistakes but we’ll go away, dust ourselves down and  hopefully come back stronger for it.”

Pollok’s victory maintained their fourth top of the pile placing and sets them up perfectly for next weekend’s crucial  tilt away to second top Clydebank, all of five points better off and boasting an undefeated record after a brace of Hamish McKinlay goals along with counters from Nikky Little and Joe Slattery saw the Bankies run out 4-1 winners over Bonnyton Thistle for whom Tom Dempsie bagged a consolation score. 

Still leading the Premier way are Auchinleck Talbot following a 3-0 defeat of Cumbernauld United thanks to a couple of Dwayne Hyslop goals either side of a rare Aidan Wilson score however third top Kilwinning Rangers, handicapped by red cards for Carlo Monti and Ross Smith could only salvage a 0-0 draw at home to Largs Thistle .

Troon and Beith played out an identical stalemate at Portland Park while new Kilbirnie Ladeside managers Tommy Molloy and Shaun Dillon had good cause to be smiling after picking up all three points in their first league game at the Valefield helm  through  Dylan Henry netting both goals in a 2-1 triumph over Rutherglen Glencairn whose  midfielder Harry Mitchell put a better complexion on the scoreline.

Luke Kelly, Cameron Henry and Ian Gold were on the mark in Rob Roy’s 3-1 victory over sixth bottom of the standings Rossvale while another couple of basement strugglers , Blantyre Vics and Glenafton , had to settle for a share of the spoils following a 1-1 Castle Park  draw.

At Conference League level, Shotts Bon Accord  are the new frontrunnners in  Division A after posting a 5-0 hammering of bottom markers Lugar Boswell through Taylor Evans, Scott Faulds, Ally Martin, Michael Blues and Jordan Logan goals .

Another high scoring team, St Cadocs ,moved atop the B Division pile  on the back of a hat trick by Dale “Gunner” Moore inspiring a 7-1 drubbing of Kello Rovers while Drumchapel United have moved five points clear in the Division C stakes following their 4-2  defeat of Vale of Clyde coinciding with nearest challengers Neilston suffering a shock 1-0 reverse away to Yoker Athletic whose matchwinner was Declan Walsh.

RESULTS: P.D.M.Buildbase Premier Division. Rob Roy 3  Rossvale 1, Kilwinning Rangers 0 Largs Thistle 0, Kilbirnie Ladeside 2 Rutherglen Glencairn 1, Bonnyton Thistle 1 Clydebank 4,Pollok 1 Darvel 0,Troon 0 Beith 0,  Auchinleck Talbot 3 Cumbernauld Utd 0, Blantyre Vics 1 Glenafton 1.

PDM Buildbase Conference League A. Johnstone Burgh 0 Forth Wanderers 1, Lugar Boswell 0 Shotts Bon Accord 5, Craigmark 1 Maybole 2, Whitletts Vics 4 Glasgow University 1, Maryhill 5 Irvine Vics 3. PDM Buildbase Conference League B.Renfrew 3 Ardeer Thistle 7, Thorniewood Utd 1 Glasgow Utd 3, Carluke Rovers 0 Greenock 8, Royal Albert 0 Ashfield 4, Kello Rovers 1 St Cadocs 7.

PDM Buildbase Conference League C. Drumchapel Utd 4 Vale of Clyde 2, Kilsyth Rangers 4 Ardrossan Winton Rovers 0, Yoker Athletic 1 Neilston 0, Larkhall Thistle v Vale of Leven, St Anthonys 4 Lanark Utd 1.

PDM Buildbase Division Four.BSC Glasgow 0 Harmony Row 7, Glenvale 0 Finnart 3, Kilsyth Athletic 4 Harthill Royal 3,  Campbeltown Pupils 1St Peters 3.