POLLOK manager Murdie MacKinnon is a self-confessed disciple of the notion that no player is bigger than the team but even he shudders at the thought of where the Southside giants might currently be found in the WoSFL scheme of things without defensive mainstay David Brownlie.

The Tollcross-based ace is still a relatively young 24 years of age but his numbering Queens Park, Rangers, Ross County, Elgin City, Stranraer, East Kilbride and Linlithgow Rose among a list of former clubs made him an ideal fit when Murdie was forced to unearth a commanding stopper on the back of his inspirational skipper Paul Gallagher sustaining a potentially season-ending knee injury back in early August.

Managing to persuade Brownlie to come on board before the month was out, at a time when Pollok were occupying fifth place in the Premier Division standings, had Murdie lauding: “David is a top player who has the ability and natural leadership skills that will improve us on the pitch as he is a great professional who hates losing and has an excellent attitude to the game.”

Five months further down the line and the Lok gaffer’s acclaiming words could easily be regarded as a “line in the sand” moment given that Pollok are now up to second-top spot, a  point adrift of leaders Auchinleck Talbot, while Brownlie has since established himself as one of the Newlandsfield dressing room’s more influential figures.

Murdie, taking time out from preparations for this weekend’s final league game of 2021 away to Beith, said:“David has yet to taste defeat as a Pollok player and little wonder because he’s a highly competitive type whose application at the heart of our defence has been nothing short of phenomenal.

“Yet every bit as vital to our upturn in form has been the response to his arrival at the club from the other players in and around him - hence the reason it was a no-brainer to recently give him the captain’s armband.

“He commands respect and having someone of his ilk playing with aggression and purpose is no bad thing, particularly when it rubs off on the rest of the guys.”

Pollok’s potentially fraught trip down to Bellsdale Park is not lacking selection difficulties for McKinnon as a result of last Saturday’s 6-0 hammering of Campbeltown Pupils being blighted by late in the game dismissals of regular backline picks Matty Grant and Bryan Wharton.

The team boss added: “The ordering-offs defy explanation considering there wasn’t a bad tackle or so much as a cross word spoken between the teams out on the pitch.

“But both my players were naïve in the extreme for allowing a card-happy  referee his awaited opportunity to make the game about him.

”And now there’s a price to be paid if it’s confirmed Bryan and Matty have suspensions to serve and must sit out the game against Beith, which has been given added importance by the fact it’s our last outing before the Christmas shutdown and we desperately want to finish on a high note.”

In other games, erstwhile Pollok striker Jordan Moore, transferred to Cumnock last midweek, is reputedly in line to start for the Ayrshiremen against near neighbours Glenafton after figuring as a debutant substitute in last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Maryhill.

Their own Kilmarnock Pie Cup exit is thought unlikely to have any long-lasting effects on table-topping Auchinleck and midfielders Gareth Armstrong and Kieron Healey are set for a recall for against Kilwinning Rangers at Buffs Park. Talbot’s weekend conquerors Rob Roy are waiting to see if their match-winning midfielder Craig Truesdale can be passed fit from a hamstring strain for the Kirkintilloch outfit’s attempt to take the scalp of Darvel.

Meanwhile, the crying need to put points on the board to help clamber clear of the relegation drop zone has sparked current fourth from bottom Rossvale to recently delve into the transfer market and make three signings.

Recently installed Vale boss Jamie Sandilands has brought in midfielders Sean Stewart (Camelon) and Andy Rankin (Petershill) along with striker Jordan Logan (Shotts Bon Accord) and the word is all three newcomers are tipped to feature away to Irvine Meadow.

A must-win Barrfields clash against seemingly doomed Bonnyton Thistle beckons for third-bottom Largs Thistle while a most intriguing head to head is promised at Guys Meadow, where Cumbernauld United - with hitman Kevin Boubekri playing at the very top of his game - host the visit of four points better off Benburb.

Elsewhere, one is hearing Rutherglen Glencairn and Petershill have agreed to prematurely come out of their winter hibernation in order to play a  friendly match at the Hamish B.Allan Stadium on Thursday 30th December. 

PLAYING SATURDAY18th DECEMBER 2021 (Kick-off 1.30pm unless stated)

PDM Buildbase Premier League
Kilwinning Rangers v Auchinleck Talbot, Cumbernauld Utd v Benburb, Largs Thistle v Bonnyton Thistle, Troon v Rutherglen Glencairn, Hurlford Utd v Blantyre Vics, Clydebank v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Darvel v Rob Roy, Beith v Pollok, Irvine Meadow v Rossvale, Cumnock v Glenafton.

PDM Buildbase Conference League A
Irvine Vics v Bellshill Athletic, Girvan v Muirkirk, Whitletts Vics v Shotts Bon Accord, Glasgow University v Arthurlie (Friday 8pm), Maryhill v Saltcoats Vics, Maybole v Lugar Boswell, Forth Wanderers v Johnstone Burgh, Lesmahagow v Craigmark.

PDM Buildbase Conference League B
Renfrew v Cambuslang Rangers, Greenock v St Cadocs, Ashfield v Carluke Rovers, Glasgow Utd v Gartcairn, Ardeer Thistle v Kello Rovers, Royal Albert v Dalry Thistle, Port Glasgow v Thorniewood Utd.

PDM Buildbase Conference League C
Vale of Clyde v Drumchapel Utd, St Rochs v Yoker Athletic, Lanark Utd v Neilston, East Kilbride Thistle v Wishaw, Petershill v Glasgow Perthshire, Larkhall Thistle  v Ardrossan Winton Rovers, St Anthonys v Vale of Leven.

PDM Buildbase Division Four
Glenvale v Finnart, Harthill Royal v Campbeltown Pupils , Kilsyth Athletic v St Peters, BSC Glasgow v Harmony Row.