The old adage that says “Unless you have bad times you can’t appreciate good times” appears to be particularly apt when applied to Tony McInally’s time in charge of Pollok.

When he initially took the Newlandsfield reins almost two years ago, even his best managerial efforts failed to prevent the nadir of relegation into the Super First Division.

Then came the difficulties of a summer spent trying and failing to attract top players to the Southsiders when the club wasn’t in the top flight.

“There were so many guys who had the utmost respect for Pollok but just didn’t fancy playing in Junior football’s second tier." said the Lok boss.

Nevertheless, he managed to cobble together a well-stocked dressing room containing sufficient quality to run away with the Super First title honours and for good measure lift the Evening Times Champions Cup with a 3-1 Final victory over Blantyre Vics.

Yet even those congratulatory backslaps could not detract him from looking upwards and aspiring to greater things.

Not least because Macca comes across as a man on a mission when it comes to where Pollok’s placement in Junior football circles.

He said: "Our win against Beith last weekend moved us into second top spot and people at the club reckon this is our highest league placing for nine years so that’s pleasing but only up to a point.

“What is more satisfying is having my belief in the players justified given that they came in for unfair criticism earlier in the season when we suffered a few hiccups because of the unavailability of players.

“I always felt performances would improve when everyone was fit and raring to go and that’s proving to be the case even though I truly believe there are further improvements in the offing.

“What should not be overlooked is the fact our starting X1 on Saturday included Paul Gallagher, Derek Hepburn, Jordan Longmuir as well as the Winters brothers Robbie and David - none of whom have ever played at the very top Junior level.

“They will grow into this Super Premier Division with every game and will be better for the the second half of the season.”

Newlandsfield supporters delighting in the wing skills shown by ex-Vale of Clyde front man Hepburn will be heartened to hear Macca say the 22-year-old has even more to offer.

He said: "Del has been a major plus this season as you might expect from someone who has pace, tricks and an eye for goal so the sky’s the limit for him if he continues to work hard on his game .

“But a great deal of credit is also owed to the re-emergence of Mark McLennan and Colin Williamson while Gallagher is just different class and to my mind is the best central defender in Junior football on current form.

“And with both Mark Sideserf and Ross McCabe getting back to full fitness from injuries, we are close to having a 16-strong playing squad packed with the quality needed to set us up for a crack at every competition we’re in.

“It’s been a slow process getting to where we are but what a feather in our cap it is for bookmakers to rate Pollok the third best West Region shout for Scottish Junior Cup glory behind the big two of Auchinleck and Hurlford.

“And it’s encouraging for me as the manager of this club to hear other sides saying they didn’t want to be paired with Pollok prior to the third-round draw as it’s a mark of the new found respect we have earned.”

The Southside giants could even go atop the summit by picking up all three points on their trip across city to meet long standing Glasgow rivals Petershill this coming Saturday and Macca hopes this incentive will spur his players on.

He admitted: "Willie Patterson has put together a decent side that will not be inclined to do us any favours so we will need to be up for it.

“Playing on Astro-grass brings its own problems and we have to think long and hard over our team selection in terms of the pitch and whether the surface is suitable for bringing Sidey back into the scheme of things .

“That decision might be made for us if Tam Hanlon fails to recover from a thigh strain that forced him to come off against Beith but we’ll delay naming a team until nearer kick off.

“What I can say for definite is the leaders mantle is set to be passed around a whole array of clubs in what is shaping up to be the most evenly contested Super Premier title race in living memory .

"We’ve improved so have Rob Roy and Kilbirnie Ladeside while Troon are coming to the fore and Beith cannot be written off so a strong challenge is ready to be mounted on both Auchinleck and Hurlford which might result in the title being won by the lowest points total ever.”

Set to make his first starting appearance for the Peasy if he recovers from injury is new signing Chris Malone, previously with Glenafton, who was on the bench for last weekend’s 1-1 against former club Kilbirnie Ladeside.