ST ROCH'S boss Andy Cameron is determined to avoid another glorious failure in the Central First Division promotion stakes.

Supporters will recall how the famous old Garngad club came so close to stepping up last season until their hopes were dashed by a pivotal defeat in their penultimate league game away to rivals Larkhall Thistle.

That hammer blow led to Cameron going about a major rebuilding job to have his side better prepared going into this season’s campaign and it’s looking as if his bold approach might be paying off with the Candy Rock currently sitting fourth in the standings and hanging on to the coat-tails of the leading clubs.

Cameron and his players are on a mission to avoid being again tagged “nearly men” and are hoping to send out a message of intent when they turn for home in the title race on Saturday by hosting East Kilbride Thistle’s visit to the James McGrory Stadium.

The Saints gaffer said: "Rossvale sit top of the table on merit and most pundits reckon they along with Benburb, Neilston, Wishaw and ourselves will be fighting it out for the three automatic promotion spots and solitary play-off place.

“It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that someone is going to hit the crossbar and I tend to believe things could become even more convoluted by the prospect of Glasgow Perthshire coming with a charge.

“Billy Adams and his team turned us over 3-0 recently and we had no answer to them on the day so they could definitely be one to watch in the second half of the season.”

Losing out to the Shire goes down as the Candy Rock’s only reverse in a run of five games and Cameron was understandably delighted by the show of character from his players in bouncing back with an impressive 4-0 victory over Lesmahagow through goals from Steff McDonald, Keiran Daw (pen), Rab Maguire and Ryan Craig.

He said: “That was Rab’s first goal for the club since returning from Rob Roy and I just feel he and our other relative newcomers Reece Glackin (from Edinburgh City) and Ryan McManus (Albion Rovers) are set to make a big contribution to our promotion push.

“They would probably be first to admit they have only shown their qualities in flashes up to now but getting some regular game time over the coming month is going to bring out the best in them.

“East Kilbride is an extremely tough starter for what is shaping up as a vital period because we only managed to sneak a 2-1 win in our last meeting – and they had three men sent off that day.

"The former Rangers midfielder Scott Hadden is the man that makes them tick and we will need to try and curb his influence.”

The return of playmaker Maguire provides St Roch's with an experienced core of Juniors in tandem with battle-hardened Robert Halliday, Tam Hanlon, Ross Dickson and Paul Tierney which is set to pay dividends, according to Cameron.

He said: “The older heads set a great example to the younger lads with their attitude and commitment with Hanlon in particular having emerged as a very influential figure in and around the dressing room.

“He and the other guys have played in big Junior occasions before coming here and I just feel they have it in them to roll up their sleeves and see games out when the team is not playing at its best.

“That quality was sadly lacking this time last year and I just feel we are now better suited for lasting the course.”

Elsewhere, a trip to face struggling Lesmahagow should hold no fears for leading lights Rossvale whose nearest challengers Benburb cannot afford to lose any ground when Blantyre Vics visit New Tinto Park.

Third-placed Neilston are fancied to extend their unbeaten run to seven games when entertaining Thorniewood United but a stern test of Glasgow Perthshire’s credentials is posed by their Tail O’the Bank trip to face Greenock.