POLLOK boss Tony McInally reckons Carlo Monti could turn out to be the `ace in the pack` he has been searching for.

The 25-year-old has turned down a number of signing approaches to put pen to paper on a third playing stint at Newlandsfield after returning to these shores from Malta where he had excelled over the past season and a half turning out for Premier League clubs Zebbug Rangers and latterly Qormi F.C.

Only the postponement of last Saturday’s home game against Auchinleck Talbot prevented him debuting in front of his adoring Southside supporters, however Macca is happy to have Monti champing at the bit ahead of this week’s ETHXenergy Junior Cup last-32 encounter away to Kennoway Star Hearts.

The Lok gaffer revealed last night: “Carlo is a very talented and technically gifted player and I’m absolutely delighted to have him back here at Pollok.

“He has the quality to go past opponents, pick out a pass, deliver superb set-plays and

see a goal opening when others cannot so it’s no real surprise that a number of other Junior clubs were on his trail.

“It’s a real feather in our cap to get him on board and I think the prospect of him lining up alongside our other flair players such as Davie Winters, Stevie Higgins, Robbie Winters and Derek Hepburn will excite our supporters.

“It certainly puts a smile on my face not least because I have wanted someone of Carlo’s type to give us an array of attacking options that might cause Junior defences to have sleepless nights before we play them.

“He can play up top, in behind as a No.10 or in the wide areas and I cannot wait to see him in a Pollok strip again.”

His acclaim for Monti’s striking qualities stretches back almost three years to when McInally managed Shotts Bon Accord.

He recalled: “It speaks volumes that Carlo is the only player I’ve ever set my stall out as a manager to man mark.

“Shotts faced Pollok in a last-16 tie back in 2013 and I delegated Paul Finnigan to go everywhere with him even if it meant going into their dressing room at half-time and I have no doubts our quelling his influence played a major part in Shotts winning 1-0 through a last-minute goal from Mark Sideserf.”

Glasgow-based Monti whose outstanding displays led to Zebbug turning down a signing approach from Maltese champions Hibernians that could have seen him play in the Champions League reflected on events that led to his return to these shores.

He insisted: “I loved my time with Zebbug and played every week but it was disappointing when they shut the door on my chance to join Hibernians.

“Last summer another rival club Qormi came in with a bumper deal and I went there with high hopes of helping secure a Europa League given the quality of players at the club.

“But everything came crashing down around my ears when 12 players were sold or released just 48 hours before our opening league game because the club was near to going bankrupt.

“They wanted me off the books as well, but knowing my next move would tie me down for the season led to me staying put even though it was very stressful having my salary paid in dribs and drabs.

“Eventually the worry about my week to week existence and a touch of homesickness wore me down and I decided in the run-up to Christmas to make my way home to Glasgow and try to build up my life again.

“One or two Senior sides made enquiries but the thought of the travelling involved with playing in the lower Scottish Divisions was not to my liking and I made it known my preference was for the Juniors.

“I spoke with several leading clubs but once Tony made his interest known them my heart was set on joining Pollok where I was so settled previously not least because I have followed their results from out in Malta and know they are a club on the rise.

“A lot of my former team-mates are still with the club which might help me hit the ground running on my return and my aim is to show Tony and the Pollok supporters that this Carlo Monti is a more complete player than the one who left.”


(Kick-offs 1.45pm)

ETHXenergy Scottish Junior Cup fourth round: Arthurlie v Wishaw, Hill of Beath v Petershill, Linlithgow Rose v Irvine Meadow, Oakley Utd v Carnoustie Panmure, Rossvale v Stonehaven, Auchinleck Talbot v Cumnock, Hurlford Utd v Dalkeith Thistle, Kelty Hearts v Renfrew, Bonnyrigg Rose v Lochee Utd, Kilwinning Rangers v Arniston Rangers, Scone Thistle v Beith, Camelon v Dundee North End, Kennoway Star Hearts v Pollok, Darvel v Troon, Glenrothes v Hermes, Kilbirnie Ladeside v Tayport.

McBookie.com Super Premier Division: Rob Roy v Glenafton.

McBookie.com Super First Division: Bellshill Athletic v Kilsyth Rangers, Winton Rovers v Cumbernauld Utd, Largs Thistle v Maybole, Yoker v Blantyre Vics, Rutherglen Glencairn v Clydebank, Greenock v Shotts Bon Accord.

McBookie.com Central First Division: St Anthony's v Neilston, Vale of Clyde v Lesmahagow, Maryhill v Johnstone Burgh, St Roch's v Dunipace, Larkhall Thistle v Thorniewood Utd.

McBookie.com Central Second Division: Gartcairn v Newmains Utd, Vale of Leven v Lanark Utd, Forth v Cambuslang Rangers, East Kilbride Thistle v Benburb, Port Glasgow v Royal Albert, Glasgow Perthshire v Ashfield.

McBookie.com Ayrshire District League: Dalry Thistle v Muirkirk, Craigmark v Ardeer Thistle, Annbank Utd v Girvan, Saltcoats Vics v Whitletts Vics, Irvine Vics v Kello Rovers.