Kieran Boubekri has some way to go before his early season “Best New Kid on the Block” plaudits are merited but at least he’s going about things the right way as far as his Cumbernauld United manager Tony Fraser is concerned.

The 22-year-old striker stole the headlines by netting the only goal of the game in an otherwise drab 1-0 South Challenge Cup win over Glasgow United and was integral to just about every attacking sortie of note from the home team (and there wasn’t all that many) despite operating in a deeper lying role.

His ability to take up positions, once regarded as the pre-requisite of inside forwards, caught the eye and never more so than 8 minutes into the second half of a previously uneventful Guys Meadow contest when a controversial break of the ball saw him take possession and drive forward before unleashing a powerful 25 yard shot which aided by a deceiving bounce beat opposing goalkeeper Jonathan Grier low down at his post.

The visiting United players immediately surrounded Referee Alistair Grieve, claiming a crude challenge on their front man Jordan McGrotty had presented Boubekri with his netfinding opportunity and most terracing onlookers, this one included, reckoned they had a more than valid case. 

However the over-fussy whistler was having none of it and resorted to type by picking out the Glasgow side’s protesting midfielder Conor Woodhouse for a yellow card before bestowing the exact same punishment on their manager Hugh Kelly for making his feelings known trackside.

The  goalscorer admitted: “ I was concentrating on keeping control of the ball to get away a clean strike and didn’t realise there were any claims for a foul in the build-up.

“It wasn’t one of our best performances and the only positive is we are in the draw for the next round but that’s the aim in Cup ties so we’ll gladly take it."

Asked whether he preferred his unaccustomed No 10 role to playing with his back to goal, Boubekri scoffed: “ I’ve still got the backside to play further forward if needed but the manager Tony has always been keen for  me to get on the ball and be more involved in our build-up play.

“My remit is  still to get on the end of things in and around the penalty box so as long as he’s happy then so am I."

The game’s opening goal sparked an attacking response from the visitors and Cumbernauld  keeper Lewis Forbes did well to keep out a near post McGrotty effort  prior to the skilful Stefan Graham passing up a dream equalising opportunity .

Latching onto a ball played forward found him running through on goal with only Forbes to beat but he inexplicably delayed his shot on  goal  which enabled the home team’s Jack McMahon to get back and make a saving block.

The game’s closing stages saw Cumbernauld finish strongly sparked by Danny Boyle heading over from close range when it looked easier to score and then Boubekri came close to doubling his scoring tally, firstly when zipping a fierce drive to the wrong side of the upright after clever set up play by Jay Blair followed by him bursting through goal in the final minute only to pull a right foot effort just wide of target .

Winning gaffer Tony Fraser emerged afterwards to reflect: “ A horrible, horrible game and I’ve just said to the guys that we played it like it was an inconvenient  Saturday  afternoon friendly whereas Glasgow United treated it like the Cup tie it was.

“There was no edge to our play but thankfully Bouby has come up with one of those bits of magic he has in his locker to decide things our way and there’s no doubting he is a massive asset to this club.”

The manner of the Conference League side’s demise evoked a mixed response from long serving Glasgow United team boss Kelly .

He said: “To lose in those circumstances when the Referee has chosen to overlook not one but two clear fouls on McGrotty is disappointing but overall I’m proud of the players.

“Ours is a very young squad, the average age is 22, and to come here and make any neutrals wonder which of the two teams  is the Premier Division side speaks volumes about our display.

“We were made to suffer for going to sleep for the opening ten minutes of the second half but otherwise I thought we showed ourselves to be more than a match for Tony’s players.”

In other Cup head-to-heads, Irvine Meadow staged a stirring fightback to overcome leading East Region hopefuls Penicuik Athletic by a 5-2 scoreline at Meadow Park.

The visitors had roared out of the blocks to lead 1-0 through an Aaron Somerville goal but the Ayrshiremen responded with scoring braces from Connor Boyd and Sam McLoy along with Michael Wardrope’s  counter to render Penicuik’s  second score by Greg Lamb (at 3-1) as a consolation.

Auchinleck Talbot top scored with a 7-1 pasting of West Calder United while Liam McGonigle netted a hat trick as Clydebank blitzed Glenrothes 6-1 and Petershill’s free scoring pair Ronan Sweeney and Stephen Docherty helped themselves to doubles in an emphatic 5-0 beating of Greenock which also saw  newcomer Ben Harwood  bagging his first goal for the Peasy.

Matters were considerably tighter and closer run elsewhere with Hurlford United and  Renfrew needing extra time to book their last 32 places while Blantyre Vics were 3-1 penalty kick shoot out winners over Broxburn Athletic.

Michael McNeil and Gary Carroll (pen) were on the mark in Arthurlie’s 2-1 triumph over Whitletts Vics and Pollok required  a last minute Bryan Wharton header to clinch a 2-1 Newlandsfield victory over Harthill Royal while top flight pair Beith , and Troon posted the same winning scoreline against Rossvale and Largs Thistle respectively .

Glenafton going down 2-0 away to minnows Bo’ness Athletic on Friday night was a major upset beaten only by Callum Richardson, Antony Pilkington and Greg Ross scores helping Vale of Leven come out on top 3-1 against Lowland League outfit Edinburgh University.

RESULTS: South Challenge Cup 3rd Round. Whitletts Vics 1 Arthurlie 2, Pollok 2 Harthill Royal 1, Largs Thistle 1 Troon 2, Glenrothes 1 Clydebank 6, Beith 2 Rossvale 1, Petershill 5 Greenock 0, Newmains Utd 0 East Kilbride F.C 4, Vale of Leven 3 Edinburgh University 1, Bo’ness Athletic 2 Glenafton 0, Bonnyrig Rose 4 Coldstream 0, Syngenta 3 Edinburgh Utd 1, Blantyre Vics 3 Broxburn Athletic 3 (Blantyre win 3-1  pens),Auchinleck Talbot 7 West Calder Utd 1,  Jeanfield Swifts 5  Finnart 1, Cumbernauld Utd 1 Glasgow Utd 0,Tranent 3 Lugar Boswell 0, Gala Fairydean 0 Stirling University 2, Hurlford Utd 2 Blackburn Utd 1(a.e.t.), Bo’ness Utd 3 East Kilbride Thistle 0, Kilbirnie Ladeside 3 Caledonia Braves 4 (a.e.t.),Luncarty 2 Renfrew 3(a.e.t.), Darvel 4 Gretna 2008 0, Threave Rovers 1 Civil Service Strollers 3, Cumbernauld Colts 4 Tynecastle 3 (a.e.t.), Sauchie 3 Preston Athletic 2, Haddington Athletic 0 Spartans 2, Irvine Meadow 5 Penicuik Athletic 2, Lesmahagow 0 Drumchapel Utd 5, Linlithgow Rose 3 St Cuthbert Wanderers 2, Ormiston 1 Thorniewood Utd 2, Maybole 3 St Anthonys 0,Lochore Welfare 0 Dundonald Bluebell 3.PDM Buildbase Premier League. Kilwinning Rangers 0 Benburb 2, Bonnyton Thistle 0 Rob Roy 2, Rutherglen Glencairn 2 Cumnock 1.PDM Buildbase Conference League A. Girvan  0 Forth Wanderers 3, Bellshill Athletic 0 Johnstone Burgh 5, Irvine Vics 1 Shotts Bon Accord 5.PDM Buildbase Conference League B. Kello Rovers 2 Carluke Rovers 3,  Port Glasgow 2 Gartcairn 4, Ashfield 3 Dalry Thistle 2, St Cadocs 8 Royal Albert 0, Cambuslang Rangers 7 Ardeer Thistle 0.PDM Buildbase Conference League C. Glasgow Perthshire 3 St Rochs 3 , Vale of Clyde 1 Kilsyth Rangers 3, Lanark Utd 1  Yoker Athletic3, Larkhall Thistle 0 Neilston 5.PDM Buildbase Division Four. Harmony Row 11 Campbeltown Pupils 1, B.S.C. Glasgow 0 Kilsyth Athletic 6,  St Peters  2 Glenvale 1.