By Jacob Toland
With the clubs from the Scottish Premiership still soaking in the sun on their winter break. The teams from the junior leagues will be hoping to have some of the spotlight. Despite the harsh weather, the Scottish West region still goes on with league games and the West of Scotland Cup.
In the Premiership, Clydebank took their chance to move nine points behind leaders Hurlford United thanks to their game in hand. The Bankies defeated Kilwinning Rangers 5-0 in a game that saw all five goals come in the second half alongside three red cards which saw Kilwinning end the game with just eight men.
In what was a rather calm first half compared to the second, the Bankies dominated the ball against a side that was only one point behind them prior to kick off.
It would be Nicky Little who would open the scoring in the 64th minute with a volley from close range. That goal would send the Bankies on their way with Little stabbing home his second goal of the match just four minutes later.
Del Hepburn scored his first of the match with a lovely side footed finish to put Kieran McAnespie’s 3-0 up. By this time, Kilwinning were down to eight men and were on the verge of capitulation. The game was well and truly put to bed when Little rounded the keeper and passed up the opportunity to secure himself a hat-trick by squaring the ball to Hepburn who had ran the length of the pitch. Cammy McClair finished off what was a stunning 5-0 victory put it round the keeper.
Speaking after the win Hepburn was amazed by the second half:
“It was mental, when all the red cards were happening, me and the boys were just standing there laughing. We didn’t know what was going on.
“It was always important that we kept the head especially after they had lost theirs. We got three points so that’s the main thing.”
Hepburn was full of praise for Nicky Little who was the standout player:
“I think that’s 60 goals in 90 games now, he’s dynamite, he’s always scoring the first goal. .”
The win puts to an end a turbulent festive period at the club which saw assistant manager Marc McCulloch being forced to resign his role due to work commitments. The Bankies drew one and lost two during Christmas. Sean Higgins was announced as the new assistant but would still be staying at the club in a player-manager capacity.
Down in League Two, Johnstone Burgh went into their Saturday clash against Vale of Clyde at Fullerton Park with high hopes after thrashing Ardeer Thistle 6-0 at the Keanie Park a week before. A win for Burgh would have seen them leapfrog Vale and move into seventh place in the league.
Burgh started off well and took a 1-0 lead before Vale went ahead 2-1. Burgh managed to pull off what looked like a great comeback to lead 3-2. But it would ultimately be Vale who would come out on top to finish the game off at 4-3 in what was one of the games of the weekend in the junior leagues. Kevin Turner took man of the match thanks to his hat-trick with John McCue scoring the other goal.
Burgh manager Jamie McKim spoke in the build up to his side’s match at the weekend and looked back to when Burgh last came out on top against Vale thanks to a last minute winner towards the end of November.
After the match had finished, McKim pointed out that many fans from the professional clubs in Scotland had bought tickets to see his side:
“We definitely notice a difference in attendance during the winter break for the bigger clubs.
“We noticed it last week when we were at home and the crowd was a little bit bigger than usual.
When asked if more ticket sales could be put towards transfers, McKim was coy on his plans.
“I suppose we’ll have to wait and see, that’s not really up to me. If there is anyone available, we will certainly have a look and see if it is possible.”