Dunga heads towards exit at Wee Gers as title tilt gets serious

CENTRAL Second Division frontrunners Cambuslang Rangers hope to kick off the January sales after accepting a transfer request from seasoned striker Steven 'Dunga' McLung.

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Cambuslang Rangers manager Alan Wardlaw believes his team have got plenty in reserve up front
Cambuslang Rangers manager Alan Wardlaw believes his team have got plenty in reserve up front

Somervell Park boss Alan Wardlaw said: "Dunga coming here didn't work out for either of us, so it's probably best for both parties if we have a parting of the ways.

"He leaves with our best wishes and, truth is, we do not anticipate his departure harming us unduly in the striking department seeing as we are currently the top-scoring side in our division by a long way.

"Deco (Thomas Kilmartin) has been banging in the goals and we also have two promising young forwards in Gordon Duches, who previously played with East Kilbride Thistle, as well as new signing, Gordon Dick, who was on the books of Rangers."

Wardy added: "It's nice that we are sitting top of the table, but our feet are firmly on the ground as we are well aware it means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.

"Going out in front is the easy bit and the really hard job only begins now in trying to stay there until the end of season."

The Wee Gers will look to maintain pole position by taking all three points from tomorrow's trip to meet Vale of Leven while another of the title challengers, Johnstone Burgh, look a good bet to overcome Newmains United at Keanie Park.

Wishaw will be going all out to make home advantage tell against Rossvale, but the Second Division game of the day is undoubtedly the meeting of strong-going Forth Wanderers and second-placed Maryhill at Kingshill Park where defeat for either side could prove damaging to their step-up hopes.

Aspirations are never higher on the Junior football scene than when it's the dawn of a new year.

Clubs that have started the season well will be confident of kicking on in their quest for silverware, while even those that have been in freefall up to now will believe they are finally on course for survival.

Anyone gazing into a crystal ball would struggle to predict how the West Region's highly-competitive Stagecoach Leagues will pan out over the coming months.

In the Super Premier Division, for instance, Petershill and Auchinleck Talbot look like challenging for the title as one cannot help but feel it is asking a lot for third-placed Clydebank to string together the near-perfect winning run needed to overhaul the leading pair.

Emirates Junior Cup winners Shotts Bon Accord are marooned at the foot of the table some five points adrift of the other basement clubs.

However, it must come as a crumb of comfort for Tony McInally's side to have several games in hand over their rivals and, with just three points separating the next five bottom places, then none of these clubs can count themselves safe.

Recent weeks has seen the undoubted quality in Kilbirnie Ladeside's ranks bring them to the fore at Super First Division level, but the worry is whether the Blasties can maintain their upward momentum should injury lay low the likes of cornerstones David McGeown, Kevin McDonald and Ryan Smillie.

At the other end of the table, Whitletts Vics look doomed, but at present one cannot even begin to have an educated guess at the other three drop candidates.

Barring an unforeseen collapse, Greenock are strongly fancied to take Central First Division title honours and leave St Anthony's, Neilston, Larkhall Thistle and Lesmahagow in a dogfight for the sole remaining promotion spot.

East Kilbride Thistle, without a point from their opening nine matches, are clearly destined for a First Division fall and the likelihood is two from Port Glasgow, St Roch's and Bellshill Athletic will go down with them.

It's hard not to believe the current top three Second Division outfits, Cambuslang Rangers, Maryhill and the George Walker-steered Johnstone Burgh, will be heading in the opposite direction despite the best efforts of Forth and Wishaw to bring about a different conclusion next May.

Kilwinning Rangers, with veterans Neil Shearer and Roland Fabiani at the heart of their defence, and Troon, are racing certainties to step up from the Ayrshire District League and the only matter to be decided is which of the leading pair will lift the trophy.

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