SOME Pollok fans might wager that Saturday's 1-1 Scottish Cup draw with Spartans was the Glasgow side's worst display of the season so far.

However, such optimism would be unfounded. Because the Junior kingpins can consider themselves more than a little fortunate to retain an interest in the competition after surviving several close shaves.

Any hopes of an extended and rewarding run in the cup have been left hanging in the balance, with Lok now facing the much tougher prospect of getting the better of their East of Scotland League opponents in a City Park replay next weekend.

Dressing room feelings of relief at living to fight another day were best summed up by the experienced Derek Wingate.

He said: "After scoring early, we looked a good bet to go on and win the tie, but conceding a quick equaliser seemed to knock us for six and we just went from bad to worse from then on.

"We were just not at the races but at least we can take some comfort from knowing there is still a second chance for us to make the next round.

"And every one of us feels confident of taking the tie overall, especially as deep down we know that to a man, we cannot play any worse next week."

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith was one of a number of well known footballing figures among the 1170 terracing onlookers, as this first round tie got underway.

Playing on their home turf, Pollok not surprisingly controlled the initial exchanges and their pressure led to a scoring breakthrough on the quarter of an hour mark, when a Davie Turnbull net-bound shot was deflected past the post.

Andy Essler's flag kick was knocked down by Wingate and hitman Bryan Dingwall's razor sharp instincts saw him react quickest in a crowded penalty box to turn the ball over the line from close range.

One or two near things threatened to kill Spartans off after that. However, they found themselves level ten minutes later, helped to a large extent by a rare moment of rashness from Lok defender Joe Carruth.

He needlessly slid in and brought down Omar Kader when the visiting midfielder was veering away from goal, after a surging run forward.

Outstanding whistler Greg Aitken - in total control throughout without brandishing any yellow or red cards - initially signalled for a free kick outside the box.

But a chat with his better-placed touchline assistant, brought a change of mind and a penalty kick award that Spartans front man Nicky Walker converted, despite Kris Robertson's valiant effort.

Suitably boosted, Spartans were now more in evidence as an attacking force, particularly through the clever promptings of midfielder Alex King.

Having held their own until half-time, they started out the better of the two combatants upon the resumption of play, and could have got their noses in front but for a terrific Robertson block denying Kader and then a post denying a Donal Henratty shot.

Lok boss Jim Sinnett's response was to try and regain a semblance of midfield dominance by introducing Andy McLay from the bench, and the ploy almost paid immediate dividends as a Robert Downs' effort rebounded off a post.

Spartans ontinued to pose a scoring threat by hitting on the break and five minutes from time they almost clinched a shock victory when ex-Brechin City striker Walker's diving header struck the crossbar, with Lok keeper Robertson beaten all ends up.

Newlandsfield gaffer Sinnett could not mask his disappointment at how events had unfolded. He revealed: "We looked the part right up until Spartans equalised, but simply went to pieces from then on.

"The last five minutes or so was a particularly harrowing spell and Spartans could have killed us dead but for some slack finishing on their part.

"It was by far our worst display since I came here. Unless there is a massive improvement next week, then we can forget all about a Scottish Cup run." Annan lie in wait for winners

POLLOK have the carrot of a plum tie away to senior new boys Annan Athletic should they beat Spartans in this weekend's replay.

The Glasgow cracks come out of the hat alongside Harry Cairney's men, while North Region champions Banks O'Dee also landed it tough away to former Junior outfit Inverurie Loco.

East Region top guns Lochee Utd are in with a great chance of progressing to the last 32 after landing yet another home tie against Buckie Rovers.

Meanwhile, ex-Scotland Juniors internationalist Paul Kerr was on the scoresheet as Maybole went joint top of the Super First Division with a 3-0 defeat of Annbank.

Kilbirnie jumped into third spot, beating Port Glasgow 4-2.