The battle to preserve top-flight existence takes centre-stage for several Super Premier Division clubs tomorrow.

Nobody has a greater need to stop the rot than Clydebank, whose lamentable shot-shy ways see Budgie McGhie's men rooted to the foot of the table without a league win to their name this season.

Hard-working team boss McGhie is seen as the best hope of survival and he is not in the slightest bit overawed by the challenge of trying to turn around Bankies' fortunes - even though his side's problems would appear to run much deeper than a chronic goalscoring shortage.

Clydebank boast anything but a leaky defence and have one of the best goals-against columns, nevertheless it came as a surprise this week when long-serving stopper Paul Bell was made available for transfer at the same time as former Knighswood Juveniles midfield starlet Craig McCready was released.

McGhie has moved to address the one area he desperately needs to strengthen - his forward line.

He is reputed to have made a signing approach to land experienced frontman Derek Carcary of Annan Athletic, however he was keeping his cards close to chest ahead of tomorrow's Holm Park head-to-head with Hurlford United.

The Bankies gaffer said: "We have been trying to recruit new faces for some time, and already Phil Barclay, Johnny Allan and Kyle Cummings have come on board and are looking the part.

"A new and different type of striker has been at the top of our shopping list but it is only this week that there are indications of our search coming to fruition.

"For obvious reasons I would rather not name our target until his name is down on the dotted line.

"But barring a last-minute hitch I'm confident of having a debutant to unveil for facing Hurlford."

McGhie knows he could not have picked tougher opponents than the Ayrshire cracks and reigning Scottish Cup holders - who showed themselves to be at the top of their game by the manner in which they routed hapless Shotts Bon Accord 6-1 in their Scottish Junior Cup third round encounter last weekend.

He said: "Hurlford are the type of team that can make you suffer when they get on top, so it is essential we keep a solid shape and give them no encouragement in the early stages tomorrow.

"They beat us home and away last season - both times by the odd goal.

"I would like to think we can give them a game of it again, now there are signs of our own key players finding their best form. Our display in winning 3-0 away to West Calder was convincing and we will be boosted by the return of our skipper Austin McCann who missed that game through work commitments."

Fourth-from-bottom Shotts are at home to one point worse off Troon.

Hannah Park gaffer Tam McDonald fears the rejuvenated Ayrshiremen - they were the bottom-markers but are unbeaten in their last five league outings - will heap more misery on his injury-ravaged troops.

Andy Cross, Anton McDowell and Gerry Campbell were non-starters against Hurlford and the latest additions to this catalogue of worries are Jack Marriot and goalkeeper Gary Whyte who both ended up hospitalised after picking up heavy knocks in the 6-1 drubbing.

McDonald said: "It's no exaggeration to say our playing resources are wafer-thin but John Gibson and myself are doing what we can to bring in players.

"Troon will see our depleted state as an opportunity to get above us in the table but my players are at their best when the chips are down and our cause looks lost.

"If I was a betting man then my money would be on Gary passing himself fit to play as he's as brave as they come. But I fancy Jack will be laid up for a few weeks as his problem is ligament damage."

Another basement game featuring a winner v loser from last week's Scottish Cup ties goes ahead at Loch Park, where near-neighbours Glenafton and Cumnock lock horns.

The Glens will be desperate to bounce back from their shock Cup exit at the hands of Rob Roy.

They will not hold back against a Nock side seeking to pick up a first league win under team boss John McKeown, who might give a starting jersey to Kieron Downs - signed last Saturday morning from the highly-regarded manager's former club, Wishaw Juniors.

THE Scottish Junior Cup fourth-round draw will be held in the Evening Times offices next Tuesday at 6pm.

Among the teams going into the hat will be holders Hurlford United and 10-times winners Auchinleck Talbot.

The draw will be posted on the Evening Times website at


(1.45pm kick-offs)

Scottish Junior Cup. Third round: Dyce v Port Glasgow, FC Stoneywood v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Dundonald Bluebell v Yoker Athletic, Culter v Falkirk Juniors, Thorniewood v Broughty Athletic, Johnstone Burgh v Largs Thistle. Replays: Linlithgow Rose v Montrose Roselea, Jeanfield Swifts v Lesmahagow.

Stagecoach Super Premier: Clydebank v Hurlford United, Irvine Meadow v Arthurlie, Shotts v Troon, Cumnock v Glenafton Athletic, Petershill v Beith.

Super First: Greenock v Neilston, Irvine Vics v Ardeer, Rutherglen Glencairn v Maybole, Irvine Vics v Ardeer Thistle, Pollok v Kilsyth Rangers, Cumbernauld v Rob Roy.

Central First: Dunipace v Wishaw, Lanark v Carluke Rovers, Benburb v Maryhill, Blantyre Vics v Bellshill Athletic, Ashfield v St Anthony's, Vale of Clyde v Larkhall Thistle.

Central Second: Cambuslang Rangers v St Roch's, Newmains v Forth Wanderers, Royal Albert v East Kilbride Thistle, Glasgow Perthshire v Vale of Leven.

Ayrshire District: Darvel v Dalry, Muirkirk v Kilwinning Rangers, Annbank v Craigmark, Whitletts Vics v Kello Rovers, Girvan v Saltcoats Vics, Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Lugar.