IN the manic world of Junior football, Ross Wilson insists he doesn’t feel any pressure from the outside – simply because he puts more expectation on himself than anyone else ever could.

The young Irvine Meadow boss has had to listen to some harsh criticism during what has been a difficult month for the Super First Division outfit.

Although they eventually prevailed in a penalty shoot-out on Saturday, a 180-minute stalemate with Maryhill in the Junior Cup over two matches ensured the club went through September without a victory in normal time.

A ropey return of two defeats – including a 4-0 thumping away to Petershill – and a goalless draw before battling past Maryhill turned up the volume of discontent around Meadow Park.

But the 28-year-old, whose side returns to league duty away at Cambuslang Rangers on Saturday, maintains that he doesn’t pay attention to the noise because he’s fully backing himself and his players to come through their shaky spell.

“To be honest, I don’t feel any pressure from anyone else,” Wilson said. “Nobody can put more pressure on me than I put on myself.

“I’m not used to getting beat, I’m not used to drawing but you just need to dig in and get through these sticky periods. You would rather have a difficult spell now than in December or January.

“There’s always going to be a lot written about a big club like Irvine Meadow not winning games, but I don’t pay attention to that or things I hear on the grapevine about what this person or that person allegedly said.

“We just need to keep going and keep believing in what we’re doing. We will get there - it’s not a case of ‘if’. We will get it right.”

Medda chairman Robert Jeffrey gave Wilson his public backing following a 2-1 home defeat to Renfrew, and despite the winless run the manager believes there are promising signs in the team he is moulding.

The Ayrshire outfit have kept three clean sheets in a row and despite failing to hit the net against Maryhill, Wilson’s side had 26 shots in the replay alone.

And the gaffer points out that injuries and holidays at inopportune moments have slowed the familiarisation process in a squad which retained only eight of last season’s players and added a further 12.

Wilson said: “There’s got to be a little bit of understanding that it’s never going to be a walk in the park and you are going to have sticky spells.

“We’ve not been carrying a lot of luck [in front of goal] especially with the guys we have in our squad because there are goalscorers in this team. For me, it’s just a matter of luck.

“I know a lot of people say ‘the harder you work, the more luck you get’ but every manager’s been in that situation where you just don’t care how the ball ends up in the net – it could bounce off any part of the anatomy - it doesn’t matter.”

Wilson will look on keenly as the Scottish Cup second round draw takes place at Hampden this afternoon but admits that his primary focus is on securing promotion.

The next hurdle on the road to joining the title mix awaits at Somervell Park on Saturday against a Wee Gers side looking to recover from a 4-0 drubbing away at Darvel.

And Wilson insists his players will be fully prepared for a backlash from Paul McColl’s men as they look to secure a crucial victory.

“Cambuslang had a poor result on Saturday and we have to be wary of a reaction,” he added.

“But we need a reaction as well, because we’ve not won in five fixtures. It should be a good game.

“In terms of the cup, wherever I work I always aim to equal or improve on a team’s record the previous season in any competition, but for us the priority has to be promotion.

“A club like Irvine Meadow has to be involved at the very top of Junior football in the west of Scotland.”


(kick-offs 2pm) Super Premier Division: Arthurlie v Kilwinning Rangers, Cumnock v Beith, Girvan v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy v Hurlford, Pollok v Clydebank. Super First Division: Cambuslang Rangers v Irvine Meadow, Kello Rovers v Rutherglen Glencairn, Largs Thistle v Cumbernauld United, Maryhill v Kilsyth Rangers, Renfrew v Petershill, Shettleston v Darvel, Troon v Larkhall Thistle. Ayrshire District League: Annbank United v Ardrossan Winton Rovers, Ardeer Thistle v Saltcoats Victoria, Craigmark v Maybole, Dalry v Lugar, Muirkirk v Irvine Victoria. Central District First Division: Benburb v Thorniewood, East Kilbride Thistle v Lesmahagow, Forth v Port Glasgow, Greenock v St Roch’s, Neilston v Glasgow Perthshire, Shotts Bon Accord v Rossvale, Yoker v Blantyre Vics. Central First Division: Ashfield v Dunipace, Carluke Rovers v Royal Albert, Gartcairn v Bellshill Athletic, Newmains v Vale of Clyde, St Anthony’s v Johnstone Burgh, Vale of Leven v Lanark United.


(kick-off 2.30pm)

West Region Junior FA Ardagh Glass Sectional League Cup Final: Glenafton v Auchinleck Talbot (Meadow Park).