Amazing Gracie is on song for Sinky's Jags

Larkhall Thistle protégé Graham Gracie has hogged attention ever since breaking into the Junior ranks in 2011.

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Graham Gracie has scored 19 goals this season for Larkhall Thistle in the Central First Division
Graham Gracie has scored 19 goals this season for Larkhall Thistle in the Central First Division

It's hard not to when you hit a blistering 41 goals as a teenager straight from school in your maiden season. This meteoric rise to prominence continues to be marked by bulging nets now he has reached the veteran age of 20.

Saturday's brace as the Jags routed Central First Division table-toppers Greenock 5-0 moved him on to the 19-goal mark this campaign, with Graham netting 32 goals for the Lanarkshire club last term.

As you might expect, his form has brought him to the attention of a number of top Junior clubs, however the Netherburn front man insists he is not on the lookout for pastures new.

He revealed: "I'm very happy here playing with my local club and alongside team-mates who are a bit more experienced and know how to get the best out of me.

"My overall game has come on leaps and bounds through the coaching and advice of manager Dunky Sinclair and I'm hopeful he can help develop me even further.

"Don't get me wrong because I'm as ambitious as anyone, and would love one day to have a crack at the Senior game. But I believe that will come as long as I continue to do the business for Larkhall Thistle.

"Hamilton Accies did invite me in for pre-season training last season. I had to pull out of a planned college course starting at the same time to go.

"When no contract offer came, I found myself in limbo for the next year waiting for the next course intake. I'm currently studying Mathematics and I'm not going to throw all that away just to go on trial with a club.

"But if something more concrete is ever on the table then I'll have a huge decision to make."

Gracie first surfaced under previous Larkie manager Paul Anderson who spotted his goalscoring potential and tried in vain to sign the then 16-year-old pupil from Larkhall Academy.

Eventually the youngster caved in to the approaches and featured as a trialist in an end of season 2-2 draw with Dunipace.

Sinky then arrived to oversee Gracie's development which included bulking him up and also installing a target man in Ross McGeachie to operate as his forward-line partner.

Gracie added: "Last week's win away to Greenock has put us second top and in a marvellous position.

"St Anthonys, Lesmahagow, Dunipace, Lanark United and even Shettleston are all in the running so you can bet on there being plenty of twists and turns between now and the end of season."

HE ADDED: "We must not forget there's a very fine line between success and failure in this division. We found that out last term because even though we finished in mid-table, we would have been relegated if we had not won our last two games.

"Sinky is urging us to focus on winning our own games and that means making sure we don't throw away all the good work of last weekend's win by slipping up at home to Bellshill Athletic this Saturday.

"We can close to within six points of Greenock with a win so it's a massive game. But Bellshill's results have picked up recently and we are going to have to work very hard."

Gaffer Sinky is well aware of the interest shown in Gracie and insists any club hoping to entice the striker away will need a huge transfer chest.

He said: "Graham has lived with speculation for the past three years.

"His potential is frightening and I would think that when he does get the chance to show his abilities at a higher stage then it will be at Senior level."

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