JIM DELANEY believes Super First Division bottom markers Maryhill can climb clear of relegation danger even without his hand on the helm.

The popular team boss stunned club officials by tendering his resignation on “pressure of work commitments” grounds last midweek just eight weeks into his second season in charge of the Lochburn Park outfit whom he steered to promotion back in May.

Four defeats in four league games to date indicates that stepping up into the Super First Division has been fraught with difficulties, however Delaney is adamant his quit decision has nothing to do with results.

Last night he revealed: “Work commitments can often be the excuse trotted out to save face when there’s a parting of the ways but it really is the truth in my case.

“I work with Royal Mail and just cannot commit to being in the dugout every Saturday at a time when the players and people behind the scenes at Maryhill are probably needing my leadership most so it’s in the club’s best interest that I stand down now and let someone else take up the reins.

“The challenge of keeping Maryhill in the Super First Division was one I not only relished but felt capable of winning.”

The 46-year-old added: “The people at Maryhill have made my stay most enjoyable and were initially reluctant to accept my resignation, however they understand my reasons and had asked to keep matters hush-hush while they made moves towards fixing up a replacement.

“They will be making an announcement in due course and my intention is to fade quietly into the background and leave them to their business but you can take it as read that I will be seeking out Maryhill’s results every Saturday evening.

“I’m absolutely gutted to be walking away and already I’m missing the dressing room banter and satisfaction that comes from working with good players and that’s just a week down the line so I’m longing for the day when my circumstances change.”

A heavy 6-1 going over at the hands of Blantyre Vics proved to be Delaney’s last game as Maryhill gaffer as his subsequent resignation caused club officials to turn to highly regarded ex-players Pat Keogh and John Sherry to look after team matters in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at home to Shotts Bon Accord.

One-time Clyde stopper Keogh and Sherry had made up Delaney’s backroom team and were thought to likely candidates to assume the vacant Lochburn hotseat along with former coach Michael Tolland, however Evening Times Sport has been very reliably informed that John Hughes, who was in charge of the Central Scotland Amateurs Select last season and is well known in Amateur circles through managerial stints with Gartcosh United and Postal United, was meeting with the players last night.

If the terracing whispers ring true then the new man faces a daunting debut away to in-form Yoker Athletic, unbeaten in four starts to date and 1-0 victors when the teams clashed in an Exsel Group Sectional League Cup match earlier this season.

There’s a pronounced top v bottom feel to the Super First Division fixture card which sees league leaders Kilsyth Rangers, boosted by the arrival of new midfield signing David Sinclair, strongly fancied to take the spoils when taking to the road to face third from bottom placed Irvine Vics.

A Kilsyth slip-up would be warmly received by their nearest challengers Shettleston seeking to bounce back from their penalty kicks shoot-out defeat by Rob Roy in last weekend’s Exsel Cup Final defeat by Rob Roy when going up against second bottom Renfrew at New Western Park.

Would-be title challengers Petershill look to have a tougher hurdle to overcome when hosting the visit of a Cumbernauld United side showing signs of a revival under new gaffer George Shaw and an intriguing clash goes ahead at Castle Park where Blantyre Vics await the visit of Irvine Meadow.