COULD it be the case that Maryhill Juniors have just made a serious statement of intent by appointing John Hughes as their new team manager?

That’s the question posed by the 41-year-old kicking off his Lochburn Park tenure with an against-all-odds 2-1 victory over previously unbeaten Yoker Athletic last Saturday.

Eyebrows were raised by fellow basement strugglers Shotts Bon Accord chalking up a 3-2 win against Rutherglen Glencairn with goals from Andy Scott, Gary Barr and Mark Duffy (penalty), while Lee McRae bagging the only goal of the game saw Irvine Meadow make strides up the table with a win against Blantyre Vics.

However, arguably the biggest upset of them all came at Holm Park where Maryhill marked the dugout debut of Hughes by posting their first league win since stepping up to the Super First Division at the start of this season.

And it would probably be correct to say the famous old Glasgow outfit rode their luck after the dream start afforded by Justin Begg’s opener was cancelled out by an equaliser from Greg Maitland who then blotted his copybook by failing to score from a 76th minute penalty-kick award … superbly saved by Jack Baker … that set the scene for Maryhill to snatch all three points with an 89th minute Lee McLelland score.

New gaffer Hughes said: “A draw would have been a creditable result so I was feeling really pleased to be in with a shout of coming away with a point and was screaming for Lee to take the ball into the corner and waste time but I was even happier when he ignored me and instead turned inside an opponent and poked the ball into the net.

“To defeat a team like Yoker that has been going along so strongly was a dream start for me but all the credit belongs to the players who worked so hard and did everything asked of them … and more besides.

“A special pat on the back goes to Big Jack and Luke Tolland who were both carrying injuries yet played through the pain barrier because we were needing their experience.

“Jack in particular had badly wrenched his shoulder last week and was struggling to raise his arm above body level yet he somehow pulled of a marvellous penalty-kick save that paved the way for our glory finish.”

Riddrie-based Hughes had Junior stints with Rutherglen Glencairn, St Roch's, Rob Roy and Ashfield in his playing days but is best known for his managerial prowess at amateur level with Postal United and the Central Scottish Amateur Select whom he steered to friendly victories over Petershill, St Roch's, Benburb and Bellshill Athletic.

His vast knowledge of up and coming players at that level worked in his favour after being left in a bit of a pickle by a trio of Lochburn departures last midweek.

He revealed: “I was approached by Maryhill officials last Tuesday night and accepted the post before meeting up with the players on Wednesday for the first time along with my backroom team of John Crooks, ex-Shettleston, and my former Ashfield team-mate Cammy Scott who had been manager of Cambria in the Caledonian Amateur League.

“Three of the more experienced players Eddie Walton, Paul Coyle and Andy Monaghan felt the time was right for a parting of the ways and asked to be transfer listed which I fully understand even though it left us needing to make up numbers just three days short of facing Yoker.

“Thankfully we had left-sided midfielder Kevin Kelly (son of Petershill coach Paul) and central defender Gordon McLune standing at the ready to put pen-to-paper and we also managed to fix up a couple of top-notch guys from the Scottish Amateur Select side in Darren Shipman and Colin Preston.

“We have designs on a number of other top amateurs as well as loan signings from the Senior ranks, however the performance of the current squad against Yoker has given us plenty of food for thought.

“It’s only right to spend more time in assessing the qualities of the guys and to that end we have arranged a friendly work out against Eastfield Amateurs under Lochburn’s floodlights tomorrow night.

“This is a testing time for everyone as we have cup games against Lugar Boswell and Lochee Harp (both away from home ) before getting back to the business of trying to pick up more league points to make moves up the table.”


(Kick-offs 2pm unless stated)

New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup first round: Bellshill Athletic v Petershill, Johnstone Burgh v Royal Albert, Rob Roy v East Kilbride Thistle, Thorniewood Utd v Yoker Athletic, Vale of Clyde v Darvel, Rutherglen Glencairn v Irvine Meadow, Kilwinning Rangers v Arthurlie, Largs Thistle v Wishaw, Maybole v Girvan, Dunipace v Lanark Utd, Vale of Leven v Annbank Utd, Whitletts Vics v St Anthony's, St Roch's v Muirkirk, Cumnock v Clydebank, Newmains Utd v Ardrossan Winton Rovers, Saltcoats Vics v Shotts Bon Accord, Greenock v Troon, Lugar Boswell v Maryhill, Port Glasgow v Neilston, Kilbirnie Ladeside v Forth Wanderers, Irvine Vics v Rossvale, Benburb v Glasgow Perthshire, Gartcairn v Cumbernauld Utd, Glenafton v Carluke Rovers, Dalry Thistle v Pollok, Kello Rovers v Blantyre Vics, Cambuslang Rangers v Auchinleck Talbot, Beith v Ardeer Thistle, Kilsyth Rangers v Renfrew, Lesmahagow v Craigmark, Ashfield v Larkhall Thistle Shettleston v Hurlford Utd.