Category: players

Hello 2021 but farewell to Gerry

Happy New Year to all Lok fans! It almost goes without saying that all at the club hope for a far better 2021 than 2020 and even though we all begin in difficult circumstances, there is hope of better times ahead.

With the first team in ‘stand by’ mode as we sit out the inaugural West of Scotland League season, it is the choice of players to look elsewhere for game time. It can be confirmed that Gerry McLauchlan has been released by Pollok FC and has now subsequently signed for SPFL League 2 side Brechin City, a team he previously played for between 2010 and 2015. Gerry, whose Newlandsfield deal was due to expire at the end of the season, made his Lok debut in the Sectional Cup versus Rossvale in July 2019 and went on to make 20 appearances for the club. All the best Gerry in the return to Glebe Park.

The vast majority of the Lok squad signed extended contracts a few months back so supporters can be assured of seeing many familiar names once we resume playing.

Derek Lea and Jim Marr

It is with sadness that the death of Pollok’s 1985 Junior Cup winner Derek Lea was reported this week, aged 61. The Govan born forward signed for Lok in November 1983 from Australian outfit Croydon City and had spent a number of years with Renfrew prior to that. Following his Junior Cup win for Lok in 1985 versus Petershill, he moved on to play with the opponents that day then Shotts Bon Accord, a return to Renfrew, Dalry Thistle, Dunipace and Port Glasgow where he ended his Junior career at 33. Deepest condolences to his family and friends from all at Pollok FC.

It was also announced today that Jim Marr has passed at the age of 59. He was loaned to Lok by Celtic in season 1977-78 and went on to play Junior with Largs Thistle, Neilston and Port Glasgow where he played alongside Derek Lea for a few seasons. Again, deepest condolences to all that knew Jim. A sad few days for the Lok family.

Eighteen players pen contract extensions

Pollok are delighted to confirm that 18 of the first team squad have committed their future to the club by agreeing 1 year contract extensions.

David Barron, Darren Christie, Chris Duff, Grant Evans, Jordan Longmuir, Danny MacKenzie, Gary McCann, Stuart McCann, Ryan McGregor, Iain Russell, Mark Sideserf and Josh Weir are now contracted to the club until June 2022. Meanwhile, Del Esplin, Adam Forde, Shaun Fraser, Paul Gallacher, Josh Lumsden and Jordan Shelvey have penned extensions to June 2023.

Commenting on the news, Pollok manager Murdo Mackinnon said; “Delighted the lads have committed themselves to the club. Tremendous loyalty shown by them all. We’ll be back, stronger than ever”.

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Player news: Larkin departs

Pollok FC this week can confirm that Dominic Larkin has been released from his Lok contract due to a change in work circumstances. Speaking to the website about pre-season, manager Murdo MacKinnon said:

“Unfortunately he’s not been involved much due to his work commitments. His new career will take up most of his time.

“This situation is something that has come up and it’s an opportunity that Dom can’t turn down. I wish him well with his career and the future – he’s a terrific lad.”

All the best Dom from all at the club.

In terms of Lok’s three games so far, and pre-season in general, Murdie added:

“The games have gone well – there have mainly been positives.

“There are still a few things to work on and get up to speed with, so very happy with the players overall. The new signings have fitted in well and the squad as a whole is strong.”

The new season is still very much an uncertainty. Clubs met last night over Zoom to discuss a number of issues and a vote will take place on Friday to determine when and how the season starts. There is increasing concern over the lack of fans being allowed into matches alongside a rise in covid-19 cases. National clinical director Jason Leitch told the BBC this week that discussions have not even been held with football authorities to permit smaller clubs to allow supporters into grounds as the focus is on the rise in cases.

Elsewhere in the pyramid, the following dates are being worked to (subject to any future Scottish Government restrictions):

Highland League – no earlier than November 28th
Lowland League – 10th October
South of Scotland League: 10th October
East of Scotland League: 10th October

Edit: The SJFA announced on 8/10 that their own regions would delay until 21st November.

Pollok’s next official fixture is 24th October vs. Tranent, but there will likely be closed doors friendlies in the interim. News of them will appear here and on Lok social media.

McDevitt arrival gives Murdo midfield boost as one departs

Pollok FC are delighted to announce the signing of highly experienced central midfielder Stephen McDevitt from Darvel. Stephen, 36, is a player that has spent the majority of his career at the top end of the amateurs, representing Scotland and captaining clubs like Wellhouse and Colville Park. He also has has brief Junior stints with Cumbernauld United and Vale of Clyde.

Manager Murdo MacKinnon had the following to say about McDevitt’s arrival: “I’m absolutely delighted to secure the signing of Stephen. He joins us after picking up the West Region Championship, where he captained Darvel to league success last season.

“Stephen previously captained Collvile Park and Wellhouse amateurs during many trophy laden years in the amateur game before moving to Darvel last year. He also represented Scotland at amateur level on many occasions.”

Looking at what he will bring to the Lok engine room, Murdo added: “Stephen is a highly competitive midfielder who’s never say die attitude, aggression and leadership on and off the pitch made him a highly sought after player. He is an out and out winner. I am delighted to have agreed a deal to bring him to Pollok for the first WOSFL campaign.”

“My negotiations with Stephen were totally based around football. His ambition, hunger and determination to bring success to Pollok shone through. He is a professional of the highest standards.”

“I am again delighted to welcome Stephen to Pollok FC and look forward to watching him compete in the Pollok shirt this season.”

Welcome to Pollok, Stephen!

Meanwhile it is farewell to Jamie Henry as he moves to England. He has signed up with Wimborne Town of the Southern League Premier Division South. Good luck for the future Jamie.

Introducing the Development squad (part 10)

In what is likely to be the final part of the series of posts introducing the Pollok U20 Development squad ahead of the 2020-21 season, our last player to be unveiled is 17 year old Aidan Craig.

Aidan joins Lok from Morton where has been since August 2019. Aidan is a striker who began his career with St. Mirren and was with the Buddies youth side for four seasons. He moved on to Erskine Youth then Harmony Row, and spent some time on trial with Morton from the latter in 2018-19. He switched to Glenvale ahead of 2019-20 but won a permanent move to Cappielow not long after.

Aidan has submitted this photo from his time at Morton

Welcome to Aidan and to the other 19 players that make up the Lok 20s for 20-21!

Lok TV – Grant Evans Interview

The southside’s newest roving reporter, Mick Kane, caught up with long-serving defender Grant Evans to talk about how life has been treating him under lockdown, a return to football action and his thoughts on the new seasons set up.

Grant Evans signed for his local club back in 2016, and has so far made 87 appearances for Pollok, scoring 3 goals. Despite being a tough tackler, Evans shows us a different side in our latest interview as he discusses mental health awareness.

“It’s been alright,” Evans said about life under lockdown. “Obviously been tough for everyone. I’ve worked through most of it, only had three weeks off during it, so that’s kept me busy.

“I think its been tough with no football, a lot of the boys have been suffering, just missing the changing room, the banter, getting together and the fitness as well. You see it everywhere, everybody out doing their 5k’s, running but you can’t beat the football, the competitiveness. The sooner it comes back the better.”

As the lockdown restrictions are beginning to be lifted more and more, football seems set to return sooner rather than later for the lower leagues.

“As far as I have heard, going to be back in (training) August at some point.” Evans said. “Speaking to the manager, Murdie was saying start off a couple of nights a week to get the boys back into it, as its still quite a while away from playing games. Don’t want to get everyone back too early.

“The most important thing is everybody’s health and safety. The wellbeing of the players is the most important thing, so once we get the greenlight then everyone is ready to crack on with it.”

As Evans mentioned, wellbeing of the players is important and that includes their mental health wellbeing, which could be taking a hit under the lockdown restrictions.

“I think everybody suffers from kind of mental health issues,” Evans explained. “Whether its a wee bit of anxiety, getting down now and again. Think a lot of folk (will be struggling) maybe living themselves, all ages and I think everyone will be suffering just now.

“I was saying to the manager the other day, there’s a lot of guys come to watch junior football. You go to a lot of the grounds , a lot of them are older. That’s what they look forward to all week, that’s there day out. Come down watch the game, go to the pub after the game, have a wee talk about it, whether iys a good or bad result. Probably be slagging me!

“I think everyone is suffering, I think kids are suffering being cooped up all the time. Personally its been hard as well. Nothing to do on your days off, trying to keep yourself ticking over, running. Keeping fit is a great way of keeping your mental health in check. Not being able to do that, not being able to interact with the boys has been difficult. I think if everyone starts opening up a wee bit, talking to each other then that goes a long way to help. I think everyone is more aware about it now, you see a lot of clubs getting involved in stuff like that and its encouraging to see.”

Football can often seem a tough macho environment where opening up about problems is not the done thing, Evans agrees.

“Definitely, its not easy. Football always been seen as a butch sport. Its not easy for people opening up. I’m not saying everybody has issues but I suffer from anxiety and I think a lot of people do. Its about communicating, talking and just opening up. Then you see others and you realise you’re not the only one. You speak to the guy next to you, ‘oh aye, I get that as well.’ I think its important. I’ve always been quite open about it. I don’t suffer really bad from it but I do. Times like this its not great.”

Lockdown brought an early end to the West junior leagues as the creation of the new West of Scotland Football League came into being. What expectations does Evans have of the new league?

“I don’t know, its exciting.” Evans said. “At the start I was a bit not sure. Now that its set in stone its exciting, really exciting. A lot of games to be played, 38 league games from October onwards, its going to be tough. I don’t know if they will look at that. Going to be tough, players playing a lot of games.

“Can’t complain you don’t have football then football comes back, you have too much! Its important there was a change as a lot of teams were getting stagnant, lots of teams wanting to progress. A lot of teams are spending money, bringing in big players so they are going for it. Looking forward to it.”

With rumours that seven teams could be relegated there is no doubt the league will be competitive.

“Seven down to trim the league, going to be difficult.” Evans said. “If you are in a dogfight, finish seventh from bottom, you think you have done alright but your getting relegated. Going to be really tough. Its going to be tough for us, lot of competitive teams, we will be looking at the top of the table. There’s a lot of teams strengthening, Talbot, the usual, Darvel, Beith, Glenafton, usually a surprise team comes up. Going to be really competitive and interesting.”

With Pollok now having a potential route into SPFL football, we could be in for an interesting few years ahead.

“At the start I was like, the big junior teams like to compete for stuff evey year, the league, the cups. I just thought you go into the Lowland its going to be so hard to go up then to get into the leagues.” Evans explained. “But now that I’ve sat back and read up on it, looked at other teams, peoples opinions and perspectives on it, its exciting. Obviously a long way away but imagine in ten years time, Pollok in the SPFL leagues. Its exciting.”

Evans ended by saying what he hopes for the season ahead.

“Hopefully be up there challenging, stay injury free. See how we go.”

Introducing our development squad (part 9)

In the final part of the current series introducing our development squad, today we will meet the last three members of the 20s squad. Today we shall say hello to Kamil Krol, Matthew McMillan and Andrew Melville. All three are 17 years old.

First up, Kamil. Midfielder Kamil is from Poland originally but has been in Scotland for many years and stays in Coatbridge. He has played football with Hibernian, Clyde, Airdrieonians FCBC and Kilsyth Athletic, and signed for Airdrieonians, initially at youth team level, in September 2018. While at Airdrie he won the Reserves Challenge Cup and also picked up a Central League Cup at boys club level. He comes to us therefore having already worked with both Stephen McKenna and Chris Ferguson.

Kamil checks out the enclosure c/o Ross MacDonald

Matthew McMillan is a central midfielder from Johnstone who has had a long association with Glenvale AFC and is one of seven players on our U20 books to have come directly from them. With Glenvale he won the Scottish Cup, West Region Cup and the League and won the District Scottish Cup with Paisley District. Matthew also had a spell with Morton where he trained with and played for the Reserve team.

Matthew poses for Ross MacDonald

Andrew Melville is a central defender who comes to us from Linwood Rangers, his only previous club. Honours-wise, he has won the Schools Scottish Cup. Johnstone-based Andrew is currently studying Business at Strathclyde University.

Thanks to Andrew for sending over this pic!

Welcome to all three of the players unveiled today and good luck to all 19 that are currently signed up with Lok 20s!

Lok 20s are doing some fundraising ahead of the restart and are selling these stylish snoods via their Twitter account:

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Tweet to @pollokfc20s for more information!

Introducing our Development squad (Part 8)

Today we are going to meet two more members of Stephen McKenna and Chris Ferguson’s Development squad, both lads they know well as they come to us from their Airdrieonians side. They are Luke Cameron and Jack Grimshaw.

Luke is a 17 year old defender / midfielder who has experienced playing abroad after living in Australia when younger. Luke is from Linlithgow and was on the books of Linlithgow Rose CFC before and after his time Down Under, but not long after returning he signed for Airdrieonians’ youth side.

Thanks to Luke for supplying this photo of him signing on at Airdrie

Also being unveiled today is Jack Grimshaw. Jack, from Cumbernauld, joins from the Airdrieonians youth set-up. He is a composed, ball playing centre back/centre midfielder with real leadership qualities. He has been in and around many youth academies as his career progressed. Jack tells us that he is ready to go for the big season that lies ahead and is looking forward to joining the new set-up we have at Pollok.

Jack snapped by Gerry McMillan

Welcome to both Luke and Jack – and please check the site again tomorrow when a further three U20 signings will be revealed.