THERE has been nothing but encouraging signs for Junior Scotland ahead of next month’s Umbro Quadrangular Tournament which is being staged in Glasgow, according to team manager Keith Burgess.

His preparations for the games against Northern Ireland (11 October), the Republic of Ireland (12 October), and the Isle of Man (14 October) began in earnest with a 5-1 friendly victory over Linlithgow Rose.

Auchinleck Talbot hitman Graham Wilson (2), Bonnyrigg Rose’s Dean Hoskins and Beith pair Nikky Docherty and David McKenna were the men on target.

The impressive performance blew away Budgie’s concerns that his decision to go with a 20- strong playing squad containing only three previously-capped players – Linlithgow shotstopper Richie Barnard and the Auchinleck duo of Andy Leishman and Craig Pettigrew – might prove too much of a gamble.

“It did cross my mind that our squad probably lacked a bit in terms of experience at this level but the commitment and

attitude shown by our picks has been nothing short of terrific and we couldn’t be happier with how things are taking shape.

“The guys have joined up for two get-together sessions as well as the Linlithgow game and the only disappointing note was work commitments forcing the withdrawal of Colin Leiper [Linlithgow Rose] who was absolutely gutted.

“We called in Ewan Moyes [Bonnyrigg Rose] as cover and he looked the part when coming on as a second-half substitute in the Linlithgow game in which we didn’t have a single failure on the night.

“The standard of our football considering this is a bunch of guys who have never before played together was very high and if we can bring those same levels of performance into the tournament then I believe we can do well.”

Budgie’s deliberations over his starting line-up was made more difficult by a number of outstanding displays particularly in the forward areas.

“Wilson and Keir Milliken [Beith] were previously Auchinleck team-mates for a number of years and their understanding of each other’s game was evident as they ran Linlithgow ragged.

“But I have to say their second-half replacements, McKenna and Bryan Boylan [Kilwinning Rangers], created every bit as much mayhem for the Rose backline and I would not hesitate to perm any two from this front four and go with them.

“Another major plus was Butch [Bryan Young of Pollok] who was anything but a shrinking violet as he orchestrated our tempo from midfield with a phenomenal 90 minutes of passing and positional sense.

“He along with our centre-back pairing of Hoskins and team captain Pettigrew were the undoubted rocks of the team and I felt as if the rest of the guys took their inspiration from them.

“Indeed it says everything about the defensive pair’s effectiveness when Linlithgow’s top goalscorer Tommy Coyne, a player I rate highly and have capped prev-iously, never had a sniff at goal.”

Midfield duo Ross Brash [Pollok] and Paul Burns [Cumnock]missed out against Linlithgow through injury but will get their chance to shine next Wednesday night when Scotland take on Renfrew in their final friendly warm-up match.

Budgie also hopes the game will allow the players to familiarise themselves with the 4G New Western Park playing surface ahead of facing the Republic of Ireland there.

“The Republic of Ireland tend to be the strongest of our three opponents so the draw has not done us any favours in having to play them in our middle game,” he said.

“Far better if they were last up and we had the opportunity to keep a few guys in reserve for playing them.”

Meanwhile, on the transfer front, Kilsyth Rangers and Shettleston are vying for the signature of transfer-listed Cumbernauld United stopper Terry Hewitt whose availability is also thought to be attracting the attention of East Region pair Sauchie and Fauldhouse United.