POLLOK have completed the signing of experienced forward Robbie Winters to the squad ahead of Saturday's New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup match away to Irvine Meadow IX on Saturday.
Robbie, the first ever player sold for £1,000,000 between two Scottish Clubs, has a wealth of senior experience, listing Aberdeen and Dundee United as previous clubs, as well as spells in England and Norway. Robbie also won a Scotland cap, playing in the team that beat Germany 1-0 in 1999.
Tony McInally was delighted to add Robbie to his squad. "Robbie is a class act, as anyone who saw him play for us towards the end of last season will know.
"He links up well with his brother, Davie, and his experience and ability brings a great balance to our attack.
"Del Hepburn and Steven Higgins are 21 and 19 respectively, and they've both got bags of skill, but they'll both learn loads from having such an experienced head next to them on the pitch and on the training ground."
Robbie is immediately available for selection this Saturday.
Interview with Stewart Ralston for programme v Petershill 3-10-15
Stewart, this is our first interview for the programme since before the last Petershill game in the Sectional League Cup quarter final. So, today’s match represents a full circle so to speak. In that game, Petershill went two nil up and then we got a goal back through Alan Mackenzie. But we didn’t make any progress in the second half.
Yes, I thought Petershill were quite comfortable in the second half with their two one lead until the last minute when John Sweeney went through and beat a couple players but couldn’tget his shot away. But over the piece, Petershill deserved their win.
The opening league fixture at home to Troon appeared to offer a good opportunity to make up for that defeat, but we had a really disappointing day. They scored two great goals from outside the box.
I think it was a game that turned on a decision by the referee. We were one nil down and then Alan Mackenzie beat two players and was brought down just as he was about to pull the trigger six yards from the goal. For me, it was a stonewall penalty and a red card. The referee chose not to give it. Troon were pretty comfortable on the day and deserved to win.
In that game we were short in depth on the bench. Was that a contributing factor?
Yes, for the first two weeks of the season we were affected by a combination of holidays, suspensions and injuries. It meant we lacked options to change things
The next week, a local derby against Arthurlie seemed to be a great chance to get some points on the board. Obviously you missed at that game, but what were the management team’s views of that game.
It was a holocaustic start - we were two goals down in twominutes and half our team hadn’t even touched the ball. We made a change at half time by bring on Paul Gallagher and that steadied the ship, but in this League you cannot give any team a two goal start and then expect to win the match. Selection Issues were still problem, with Taz being out injured and Gallagher nursing his knee injury; we were limited for options in that match.
In that game we had Del Hepburn sent off
Yes inexperience and frustration were to blame. The referee didn’t give a foul when Del thought he should have got one. But at this level, you can’t say certain things to the referee and not expect to get punished.
A dreadful start as you say…
Yes and it shows how fickle football can be. We had come out of the League Cup section playing good football and scoring lotsof goals, albeit against lower league opposition We had playedreally well against St. Anthony’s and scored four and scored eight at Neilston which is a notoriously difficult place to go. So it was looking like we were on good form. And so the two opening league results were a surprise.
There are no easy fixtures in this league as everyone recognises and the third league fixture was away to Irvine Meadow. But we got our first point there and probably deserved to win.
We changed the formation there to a 4-1-4-1 with Finlay Frye sitting in front of the back four and played Davie Winters up front himself. That seemed to solidify us and gave us a platform to play and I thought we played well. We were deservedly up one nil; I thought we were controlling most of the play and I thought we had largely nullified their main attacking threats. Again, I think we were hard done to by a refereeing decision, which allowed a foul on our goalkeeper. At the time it looked like a clear foul on Jordan and, subsequently, the video and stillphotographs both confirmed that he had two hands on the balland in control of the ball. Their player charged in and hit Jordan further up the arm which led to the ball squirming loose. Jordan had the bruises to show where their player had connected with him. Our players were slow to react because they were waiting for the ref to whistle. Even then Mark Sideserf got back to clear the ball off the line but it bounced off their player and into the goal. But I thought overall, we played really well and we took alot of positives from that match.
The next game was even more positive as we won our first League game of the season at home to Kilbirnie.
Yes Davie Winters scored two early gaols, both of them due to the Kilbirnie defence failing to stop Chris Walker in the air. They then got a goal back and you could see the fickleconfidence I am talking about as we didn’t play well after they scored. There wasn’t much in it and then they had a man sent off. We had chances to settle the game but never chose the correct option to finish of the moves. By the end, Kilbirnie were throwing caution to the wind, playing with four up front and it took a couple of great saves from Jordan Longmuir very late on to secure all three points.
And then against Hurlford in my opinion we played really well against a top team – the League leaders. You must have been very disappointed to come back up the road with nothing to show for it
I thought we competed well and again nullified their biggestattacking threats. We tweaked our shape to try to nullify their winger who had, for him, a relatively quiet day although he did score with a fluke cross that just found the perfect spot. We had a couple of half chances as well as a great free kick goal from Tam Hanlon. In the second half we didn’t go into our shell. At 11 v 11, I thought we were the better team. When they had a man sent off I thought we were still on top. Again, we had opportunities to make the extra man count but we chose the wrong option. Ultimately we were undone by a free kick whenwe were slow to react to the second ball.
Colin Williamson had a great run and shot on goal that went narrowly past.
Colin has taken a few games to settle in at Pollok. We challenged him to have more of an influence on the team and we thought he did that against Hurlford. And Finlay Frye was used to nullify the threat of their winger. Finlay has played well in recent weeks for us. I thought Robbie Winters did well. We started with one up and them moved Stevie Higgins from midfield up to play up top with Robbie. Davie Winters was suffering from the injuries he took against Kilbirnie the week before. That was the first game that David Winters has not started for us since he came to Pollok. Alan Mackenzie has not been fully fit since the start of the season.
You mentioned our now signing Stevie Higgins. What made you sign him?
His sharpness, pace and eye for goal and how he fitted into the group. He’s only 19 so he’s got plenty to develop. He came through the ranks at Motherwell and we spoke to the Academy development director there as part of our background look at him.
Mark Sideserf got badly injured in the Hurlford game. What’s the latest on him?
He played for us at Shotts and never missed a game in two and a half years. He has come to Pollok and got a bad eye injury early on and then this. He is going in to hospital tomorrow (Thursday) to have it assessed. I thought it was a terrible tackle on him.
Turning to our opponents on Saturday, Petershill. Every League match is a tough one.
They have had a hoodoo sign over Pollok in recent years. We have played them a couple of times since we came to Pollok and lost both games. They are a very good Premier League quality team, very street-wise. They are particularly hard to beat if they go a goal up. They can defend a lead really well. It would be interesting to see how the game would go if we managed to get the first goal. It will be a really hard game. As I have said before, we are work-in-progress.
Many thanks to Stewart Ralston for taking time after training on Wednesday night to talk exclusively to the programme.
Pollok United Soccer Academy’s 2003s team are about to make the leap to playing eleven aside matches this coming season, and are seeking new players to boost our squad numbers.
The boys will be playing in the Paisley, Johnstone and District League on Saturday mornings, with home matches being played at Nethercraigs. Training takes place at the academy’s purpose-built Dennis Donnelly Park on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Interested parties should contact Andy Elliott on 07794 047 068
Pollok FC is pleased to announce that Player of the Year Tam Hanlon and keeper Ryan Ward have both signed deals that will see them remain at Newlandsfield for the coming season.
Name: Chris Walker
Previous Club: Shotts Bon Accord
The latest name to added to Tony McInally’s squad for season 2015-16 is 6’5” central defender Chris Walker, who joins Lok from Shotts. Eagle-eyed supporters may recognise Chris from a short spell at Camp New in 2009 where he made three starts and one sub appearance.
Lok manager Tony McInally said of Chris: “Chris is a 6’5” central defender who, as you can imagine, is very dominant in the air.
“He has developed into a very powerful defender who scores plenty of goals from set plays.
“He’s the kind of player that Pollok fans love to see, and I’m sure fans will take to his style of play.”
Name: Colin Williamson
Previous Club: Cumnock Juniors
pollokfc.com is delighted to welcome playmaker Colin Williamson to the club’s midfield for the coming season. Another Tony McInally protégé, Colin joins Lok having spent the previous two season at Townhead Park in Cumnock.
McInally told pollokfc.com “Colin is a top class junior midfielder with a tremendous engine, great work ethic and an excellent range of passing.
“He did a great job for us at Shotts, but in addition, he’s been mixing it with the best midfielders in the game for a few years now, and we’ll benefit from his experience.
“Colin was highly sought after by top junior clubs, and a handful of senior clubs, so it goes without saying that we are delighted he choose to come to Pollok.”
Name: Mark Sideserf
Previous Club: Irvine Meadow
Joining Lok to shore up the left side of defence, former McInally alumnus Sideserf joins his old manager at Pollok
McInally: “Left back has been a problem area for us since we joined the club and we are delighted with capture of one of the best left backs in junior football.
“Mark played for us at Shotts previously and has matured and developed into a top class junior now.
His best years should be at Pollok and he is a talented player with great technical ability.”
Name: Ross McCabe
Previous Club: Petershill
Powerful stopper Ross McCabe has joined Pollok for the coming season. A recognisable figure in the Peasy defence for several seasons past, McCabe brings with him a wealth of junior and senior experience, having made his debut for Hamilton Accies first team at the age of just sixteen.
Tony McInally told pollokfc.com: “We were looking for a strong, proven, dominant centre back with leadership qualities and Ross has all of these attributes so he will be big asset to Pollok for years to come.”
Name: Derek Hepburn
Previous Club: Vale of Clyde
Dynamic forward Derek Hepburn has joined Pollok after the out-of-contract player agreed to join the Newlandsfield men for the coming season.
Tony McInally was effusive in his praise for the young forward. “Derek is a very pacy, creative, skilful player who can play wide or up top with an eye for goal. He played for Rangers in his teenage years.
He is a player who has been on our radar for some time and we hope we can coach and develop to reach his undoubted potential.”
While the ink dries on deals for some new faces at Newlandsfield, we are delighted to inform supporters of three familiar faces who have agreed terms to remain at Lok for the Southside club’s return to the top league.
They are, in alphabetical order, winger Kevin ‘Taz’ Bradley, midfielder Kieran McAleenan and defender Gary Wild.
Tony McInally told pollokfc.com: “One of the things I swore I would bring back to Pollok was stability, and I think the fact that we’ve held onto ten or eleven of the guys who played consistently for us last season shows that.
“It’s a big year coming up, and if you look at the teams who’ve been competitive in the top league over the years, you’ll see they’re usually settled squads, with a few changes and tweaks each year.
“That’s the philosophy we’re bringing back to Pollok.”
Meanwhile, going in the opposite direction, the club have released Jamie Barclay, Guiseppe Capuano, Jamie Darroch, Ryan McBeth and Graeme McLaren.
Tony McInally asked pollokfc.com to publicly offer his thanks to the outgoing players for their efforts at the club and to wish each of them all the best in future at their new clubs.
There will be further announcements later in the week, so come back and check the site every day!
Lok statto, Martin Donnelly, has completed his annual report on the numbers of the past season. This includes match summaries, player appearance analysis and the end of season goal tally. The file is available to download in .pdf format which will work on PC and Mac.
The report is available here:
FANS of Pollok and Blantyre Vics are invited to the Newlandsfield Suite or Trophy Bar of Lok's Bar and Kitchen, next door to the ground, before Saturday's big cup final kick off.
Both bars will also be open at half time to cater for thirsty supporters.
After the match, the Trophy Bar will be showing the crucial Scotland qualifier in HD at 5pm.
As Pollok prepare to take on the U21 side in a friendly, we take a look at three of the ‘Juves’ players that will hope to make an impact on Tony McInally.
First of John Alexander’s men to feature is Top Goalscorer, Striker, Andrew McLaughlin. Andy has finished the season with 30 goals in 28 games - a record our own David Winters would be proud of. Juveniles Manager, John Alexander says the only way to describe the 20 year olds’ goal record is “fantastic”
Gary Wild marks Andy McLaughlin in last year’s friendly
The next of the ‘Juves’ we focus on is 22 year old Andy Kyle. The left-sided player who moved from Eastwood U21s at the start of the season is known for his wide range of passing and free-kick ability. Andy will hope to take any cahnce possible to catch Tony McInally’s eye.
Our final player we have noted to look out for is Juveniles Captain, Darren McNeil. The 22 year-old plays in the central role and has been describe as the engine of the midfield. McNeil has been training with the first team recently and hopes for a move to the compete in the Premier League.
We hope fans will be able to come and see our young prospects and support the Lok v Lok match on Saturday 6th June - Kick Off: 3pm.
Pollok will play the Pollok Juveniles (U21) side in a preperation match to finalsie match fitness before facing Auchinleck in the semi-fianl of the Evening Times cup.
The match will take place at Newlandsfield on Saturday 6th of June - 3pm Kick Off.
The committee will meet this Wednesday, at the usual time of 19:30.
AFTER securing the Stagecoach SuperLeague First Division title during the week, Pollok FC is offering under 16s the chance to attend the season's final league game for free.
The game against Maybole takes place this coming Saturday 16th May at 2pm, and will see the squad celebrating their league-winning achievement.
We would like to encourage as many supporters as possible to come down and join the party!
Any members who have not yet received their AGM notes should contact the Secretary ASAP ahead of Monday’s meeting.
Pollok have signed the experienced forward Robbie Winters from Rossvale, until the end of the season.
Winters, the elder brother of prolific Lok striker David, trained with the club in preseason, before signing a deal with Rossvale, where he led the Bishopbriggs side to the Central Second division championship.
Tony McInally told pollokfc.com “we’ve been searching for a third striker all season, but it’s been really difficult to find the right fit. Having watched Robbie in preseason, I know what he’s about, and he brings bags of senior experience, and goals, to the table at a potentially tricky time of the season.”
Robbie Winters will be available for selection for Saturday’s match away to Largs.
On Saturday, Pollok FC will welcome Pollok United Soccer Academy's 2003s team to Newlandsfield as the club's guests. The boys will be presented with a brand new set of strips by Stuart MacDonald, club president, as a token of the Scottish FA Quality Mark affiliation between the two clubs. The presentation will, weather permitting, take place on the pitch at half time.
There will also be a minute of applause before kick off, to commemorate the tragic passing of Maybole captain Stuart McGrady last weekend. Collection buckets will also be positioned at the pie hut and at exits to collect money for the family fund, set up to support Stuart's loved ones at this difficult time.