Friendship put to one side as Mac looks for a Mighty win

Kenny McLean has admitted a falling-out with friends is a price he's more than willing to pay to help Beith progress into the last 16 of the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup.

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The jet-paced striker will almost certainly figure as the Ayrshiremen's spearhead when they travel through to Newlandsfield today for their fourth-round tie against top-flight rivals Pollok.

And that means he'll go head to head with former Mighty team-mates Ross Dunlop and Tony Fraser as well as seasoned defender Paul McMenamin who only put pen to paper for Lok boss John Richardson yesterday.

The 27-year-old hitman said last night: "Paul became a good pal after a six-month spell at Bellsdale under Stevie Easton in which he very quickly established himself as a real character around the dressing room.

"Ross and Tony had longer playing stints and I also count them as good friends, but only off the pitch.

"And that's because for 90 minutes tomorrow I'll be battling against them like they are my biggest enemies and I'm sure they will not be treating me any differently."

Kenny's outstanding displays at Beith were recognised earlier this season when he was capped for Junior Scotland against the Republic of Ireland.

And he is hoping to stay in contention for a place in the Quadrangular Tournament squad later this year.

He has already chalked up 15 goals, but he is well aware there is no better way to stay in the Junior spotlight than through an extended Emirates Cup run.

"I don't think my goals return is anywhere near good enough and I'm working hard in training to improve that aspect,"said McLean.

He added "Hopefully I can get on the mark against Pollok and there's no doubt Newlandsfield has been a happy hunting ground for me in recent years.

"It is a fabulous playing surface and the atmosphere generated on big match days is fantastic. They don't come much bigger than today, but everyone in our dressing room is looking forward to the occasion as our performances have picked up since Frank Lynch returned to the club.

"He's got us playing to our capabilities again and with Pollok similarly improved under John Richardson then a humdinger of a cup tie is in prospect."

Home team gaffer Richardson explained his surprise signing of Irish-born McMenamin, who has been training with Ashfield in recent weeks and whose face will be familiar to the Lok supporting legions following a successful playing stint under former boss Ronnie Lowrie.

"Peter McMahon has dropping out the scheme of things and Paul Lovering is still some way short of a comeback.

"So that left us short of defensive cover and I just felt we had to cover the bases by bringing in Paul," said Rich.

"He is not cup tied, but has only played a couple of games for Ashfield so it would be asking a lot to throw him straight in against Beith.

"However, his versatility could be useful coming off the bench. An an added plus is his experience of the Beith players."


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