Eighteen games in to the marathon that is the 2021/22 WoSFL Premier League and Pollok have gone atop the standings for the first time this season.

Having a greater number of league matches yet to be played than Murdie McKinnon’s men have so far completed means there is no need (yet?) to crack open the bubbly even though some of those of a Southside postcode and getting ahead of themselves, are keen to do so.

The question is therefore raised as to whether this might be a prudent time for a reality check given that Pollok top a pile that also includes title aspirants Clydebank, Darvel and Kilwinning Rangers, only by virtue of a slender +5 better goals differential than long time leaders Auchinleck Talbot?

The Ayrshire outfit’s own supporting legions will argue their team can be regarded as 3 points to the good as a result of playing one game fewer than their Glasgow rivals to amass the exact same 42 points total and these devout followers also allude to Talbot crucially having home advantage whenever the leading protagonists next lock horns (they played out an epic 3-3 Newlandsfield draw earlier this month).

But the good news for black and white scarf wearers is that Pollok, hoping to extend their current unbeaten run to 11 games when heading out on the road to face Kilbirnie Ladeside this coming Saturday, are still improving and appear to have plenty left in the locker.

Difficult to adjudge otherwise in the wake of last weekend’s 2-1 victory at home to Troon which marked full back discovery Matty Grant’s return after a three week injury absence to a starting line-up that was bereft of Lok regular picks Del Esplin, Mark Sideserf, Ryan McGregor, Shaun Fraser and Adam Forde.

The added motivation shown by their replacements in squeezing out every last strain of commitment to earn a deserved three points haul is certain to present a selection headache for McKinnon down at Valefield (he was posted missing v Troon due to family commitments) while looming up fast on the horizon are a number of further good reasons to have him reaching for the paracetemol.

The past fortnight has seen the versatile David Barron ,who has not kicked a ball all season, back in full training alongside his Lok team mates  while  fans  favourite Gary McCann is at the  running stage  on his recovery from a broken foot injury.

And the asset side of McKinnon’s playing ledger also shows latest signing Tommy Coyne , who made a  substitute cameo appearance against Troon , edging closer towards the required fitness levels to be in contention for a Pollok striking jersey.

Said the Lok gaffer: "The gifted forwards we have at this club rely to a great extent on getting beyond defences whereas Tommy brings us an altogether  different dimension as he is outstanding with his back to goal and so adept in terms of bringing team-mates into play.

“He’s also a proven goalscorer and having him to boost our firepower going into the make or break stage of the season is a massive plus.”

The seasoned team boss was not for passing comment on whether Coyne’s acquisition has ended Pollok’s reputed signing interest in their former player Carlo Monti at Kilwinning Rangers however the 31 year old’s reinstatement to the Ayrshire side in last weekend’s 2-0 win over Kilbirnie (and a scoring return at that) strongly hints that he will be remaining at Buffs Park for the foreseeable at least.

McKinnon didn’t say so but his eye may have turned towards up and coming prospect Jordan Moore , leading marksman at Bellshill Athletic and allegedly one of the players involved in an acrimonious dispute with the Conference League A Division club’s officials  which culminated in the recent sacking of popular team manager Derek Wilson and his coaching staff.

It’s not known for certain whether any or all of the players have been released from their contracts however the signs are ominous after recently installed replacement boss Gary Elliot, previously in charge of a local Lanarkshire amateur side, fielded an entire new line-up in succumbing to a 3-1 defeat away to Maybole last Saturday.

Finally, there’s sure to be added interest shown by Petershill supporters in the outcome this week’s Scottish Junior Cup 2nd round tie between Lochee United and Banks O’Dee.

The Springburn club were drawn at home to the winners on Saturday 27th November and if the Taysiders prevail then the last 16 clash can proceed without any hitches however a Banks O’ Dee triumph would prove problematic given the Aberdeenshire big guns already have that date set aside for fulfilling their Scottish Cup proper commitment to host the visit of Third Round opponents East Fife.

Putting back their tie would result in the postponement of the Peasy’s trip to East Kilbride Thistle in The Conference  C Division and could prove damaging to their step-up hopes given that  Martin Lauchlan’s men have already ground to make up as a result of having played fewer games than all their promotion rivals.

PLAYING SATURDAY 30th OCTOBER 2021 (Kick-off 2pm unless stated)

Scottish Cup 2nd Round Replay (3pm)
Elgin City v Clydebank.

Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round (2:30pm)
Craigmark v Auchinleck Talbot, Lochee Utd v Banks O’Dee.

Kilmarnock Pie West of Scotland Cup
Forth Wanderers v Glasgow Perthshire, Whitletts Vics v Vale of Clyde, Larkhall Thistle v Cambuslang Rangers, Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Arthurlie, Hurlford Utd v Vale Of Leven, Troon v Ardeer Thistle, Ashfield v Glasgow University, Harthill Royal v Greenock,Glenafton v  Gartcairn,

PDM Buildbase Premier League
Rossvale v Largs Thstle,  Bonnyton Thistle v Irvine Meadow, Blantyre Vics v Darvel, Rutherglen Glencairn v Cumnock, Rob Roy v Kilwinning Rangers, Kilbirnie Ladeside v  Pollok , Beith v Cumbernauld Utd.

PDM Buildbase Conference League A
Maybole v Lesmahagow, Saltcoats Vics v Bellshill Athletic, Muirkirk v Irvine Vics, Shotts Bon Accord v  Lugar Boswell

PDM Buildbase Conference League B
Thorniewood Utd v St Cadocs, Newmains Utd v Royal Albert , Dalry Thistle v Port Glasgow, Kello Rovers v Glasgow Utd.

PDM Buildbase Conference League C
Lanark Utd v Kilsyth Rangers, St Anthonys v Petershill,  Neilston v St Rochs, East Kilbride Thistle v Wishaw, Yoker Athletic v Drumchapel Utd.

PDM Buildbase Division Four
Harmony Row v Finnart, Campbeltown Pupils v Glenvale, B.S.C. Glasgow  v St Peters.