Derek Wingate's  last season as a player was spent with Kilbirnie Ladeside whom he joined in 2012 as a favour to long time close friend and team mate Stephen Swift (the current Stenhousemuir manager).

Aged 37 at the time, Dexi was nearing the end of a his playing days but his wonderful defensive nous was still good enough to help the Blasties gain promotion from the old Super League First Division as runners-up to champions Hurlford United.

By his own admission, Valefield supporters never did get to see the same lynchpin who had previously served Benburb, Junior Scotland, Stranraer, Irvine Meadow and Pollok with no little distinction yet eyebrows were nevertheless raised when he took the decision to call time on his chequered career before the following season got underway.

Eight years later finds Dexi back on the scene, not as a player this time, but as a youth coach at his first Junior club Benburb charged with helping put the finishing touches on  the young talent coming through the Govan club’s under-age  ranks and the good fist made of his new role has been recognized by Bens gaffer Paul Lovering giving WoSFL  Premier Division debuts  to no fewer than 'six of the best' of his club’s teenage discoveries in recent weeks.

Connor McFarlane (already catching the eye of Senior scouts) goals machine Jamie McDermott, James Haslett, James Ferguson, Scott Rough, and  Willie Dawson, have all turned out for the Bens first team much to Dexi’s delight however last night he modestly shunned  away from taking any credit for the six’s emergence.

He revealed: “The guy deserving of all the plaudits and recognition is one of our leading  Youth Coaches Ross Cusack who has painstakingly worked with the vast majority of these  boys since they were aged 11/12 or younger in some cases.

“He was in charge of our Under18’s when Paul first approached me to come and try to develop the Under 20’s as a feeder for the top team but then their manager upped and left, with a number of boys in tow, causing a rethink of Paul’s plans.

“Almost an entire  new group of  Under 20’s needed  to be  unearthed  however thanks to the terrific work carried out by Ross down through the years our Under 18’s were  looking a  very promising outfit  so it was suggested they could make the step-up to  Under 20 level.

“We weren’t blind to the difficulties likely to arise from playing week in and week out against bigger and stronger opponents however the upside was this generation of  Benburb boys would be so much better prepared for playing at their true age level a couple of years further down the line.

“But that’s only if they have not established themselves as first team picks before then because  Paul has already shown ability and not a player’s age is what he considers when it comes to writing out his team sheet.”

Dexi’s overriding obligations are towards the Under 20 side whose games are scheduled to take place on Friday nights so he has seen very little of Benburb’s first team in action and will not be in attendance when the Govanites host the visit of fourth top of the Premier League table Kilwinning Rangers today.

The New Tinto Park clash is the latest in a horribly unkind run of fixtures for the Bens who played and lost in the past seven days against Darvel (6th) as well as Hurlford United (5th) and now have to face Clydebank (3rd) and Pollok (2nd) in their next up league outings which initially were scheduled for either side of a trip down to Ayrshire to face tabletopping Auchinleck Talbot…postponed because of Talbot’s participation in the Scottish Cup proper.

Defiant gaffer Lovering admitted: “We were  under no illusions before facing Darvel as to just how tough a job we had  on our hands in trying to pick up points from a schedule of fixtures which could almost be taken as a punishment for something we’ve done.

“Back to back defeats was not exactly the best of starts and things are not about to get  any easier today against a Bu ffs side, still in contention for the title,  however we can only give it our best shot and see where it gets us.

“Then comes our meeting with Clydebank and doesn’t it just add further credence to thoughts that somebody up there doesn’t like us to discover the trip through to Holm Park has been shoe-horned into next midweek when there’s no rhyme or reason for it.

“The Bankies have played more league games than any other Premier team and we are not behind in our fixture obligations so why the hurry and particularly when clubs have to cope with the absence of players caused by shift working as well as the lack of recovery time for injuries from the previous weekend.

“Few if any sides like ours can field their strongest line ups in midweek games and that cannot be right.”

Lovers went on: "Work commitments, injuries, Covid and suspensions have all been factors for us having gaps to fill therefore so we are fortunate in being able to call on the best of Ross and Dexi’s youngsters who have exceeded all expectations and not looked out of place at WoSFL level.

“That said I’m under no illusions of the huge responsibility being borne by our more experienced types such as Ryan Livingston, Kieran O’Hear and Ryan McCrone, in  bringing on these younger lads."

Benburb’s meagre haul of just three points from their last six Premier League outings must surely concern Lovering given his side are currently perched precariously in 13th place among the 20 team top flight  where everyone from 14th down at the end of the season will suffer  a relegation fate .

Already looking doomed are bottom three clubs, Bonnyton Thistle , Blantyre Vics and Largs Thistle while it’s hard not to think Kilbirnie Ladeside will also take a tumble despite the stirring  revival since the appointment of co-management team Shaun Dillon and Thomas Molloy.

But it’s anyone’s guess as to the identities of the trio of clubs who will eventually join the list of fallers with Rossvale sitting a mere one point worse off than Glenafton and Cumbernauld United ,both on the same 17 points mark as Benburb ahead of the vast majority of clubs turning for home as the Premier Division enters the second half of the season

Rutherglen Glencairn, one point better off from having played one game more, cannot consider themselves safe and neither can Troon whose 20 points have been yielded up from 16 fixtures.

In other games today, an array of potential six-pointers  are  promised by Glenafton taking on a Cumbernauld United side , boosted by the return of top scoring marksman Kieron Boubekri , down at Loch Park,  and by Blantyre Vics  going up against Largs while an every bit as vital encounter has Rutherglen Glencairn hosting the visit of Rossvale .

Pollok , whose Guys Meadow head to head with Rob Roy has been brought forward to a 1.30 PM kick off will be out to keep the pressure on leaders Auchinleck , facing a stiff test at home to Hurlford ,while Clydebank will not find it easy to get back to winning ways when heading down to face an in-form Beith at Bellsdale Park.

PLAYING TODAY: (Kick Offs 2PM ): P.D.M Buildbase Premier League. Auchinleck Talbot v Hurlford Utd, Rutherglen Glencairn v Rossvale,, Beith v Clydebank, Benburb v Kilwinning Rangers, Kilbirnie Ladeside v Irvine Meadow, Blantyre Vics v Largs Thistle, Troon v Darvel, Rob Roy v Pollok(1.30 PM) Glenafton v Cumbernauld Utd. Bonnyton Thistle v Cumnock. PDM Buildbase Conference League A. Whitletts Vics  v Forth Wanderers,  Bellshill Athletic v  Muirkirk , Maryhill v Girvan,  Arthurlie v Lesmahagow,  Maybole v Saltcoats Vics, Irvine Vics v Craigmark,  Shotts Bon Accord v Johnstone Burgh, Glasgow University v Lugar Boswell.PDM Buildbase Conference League B. Port Glasgow v Greenock, Cambuslang Rangers v Carluke Rovers,  Glasgow Utd v Royal Albert ,  St Cadocs v Thorniewood Utd, Dalry Thistle v Renfrew, Newmains Utd v Kello Rovers, Ashfield v  Gartcairn.

PDM Buildbase Conference League C. St Rochs v St Anthonys, Kilsyth Rangers v Lanark Utd, Larkhall Thistle v East Kilbride Thistle, Yoker Athletic v Petershill, Wishaw v Vale of Clyde, Glasgow Perthshire v Neilston, Ardrossan  Winton Rovers v Drumchapel Utd.PDM Buildbase Division Four. Glenvale v Campbeltown Pupils, Finnart v  BSC Glasgow, Kilsyth Athletic v St Peters , Harthill Royal v Harmony Row.