JUNIOR aficionados with an eye for detail will have picked up on Danny Boyle coming off Rob Roy’s substitutes bench to play out the final half hour of last Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of his former club Auchinleck Talbot.

And neither will it have escaped the notice of well-honed followers of the game that the big stopper’s arrival on the Beechwood Park scene coincided with a tightening of the Kirkintilloch backline over the closing stages.

To come away with no further goals conceded was a source of great satisfaction to Boyle and was his response to those Ayrshire fans who had mercilessly heckled him for failing to hold down a Rabs starting jersey on his return to former pastures.

He said: "I cannot speak highly enough of Auchinleck Talbot as a club and still have good friends in their dressing room so I was quite surprised by the negative reaction of supporters towards me.

“They were trying to get under my skin with comments about me not being good enough to get a game for Rob Roy and I can only think they were unaware that Saturday was my reintroduction to the team after being hit with a three game ban for a red carding against Kilwinning Rangers back in September .

“It has taken all of seven weeks to serve out my suspension and I could hardly expect to walk back into the team seeing as we played really well in running out 5-1 winners against Hurlford United in our last outing so I was content with a place on the bench.

“That said , part of me was itching for a chance to prove a point and show my readiness for this week’s Scottish Junior Cup tie against the reigning Cup holders Glenafton which is a truly massive game for both clubs and is a clear winner in the `tie of the round stakes`.

“Only the gaffer Stewart Maxwell can say whether I did enough but it goes without saying I’d love to be involved not least because it’s my belief we have nothing to fear in taking on last season’s League and Cup winners.

“There’s no denying Glenafton are a top team and their players have the medals to prove it but this Rob Roy side have a bit about them not least of all a range of striking permutations which may just edge the day in our favour .

“Individually I have no qualms in pinpointing Graham Wilson at Talbot as the top striker going the rounds however any two from our trio of Willie Sawyers , Kevin Watt and Gary Carroll would be in the running for the best forward line partnership.

”And the prospect of Maxi unleashing all three of them at the same time would be a defender’s worst nightmare.”

Rabs boss Maxwell was not for revealing his selection hand last night however he hinted at making few if any changes by lavishing praise on his side’s losing performance down in the Ayrshire heartlands .

He reasoned ,”Nobody is more disappointed than me when we lose but I felt the guys competed and passed the ball really well for long periods in the game but were undone through off spells of ten minutes in both halves during which Talbot were at their clinical best and each time scored two goals

“They can do that to teams but it was pleasing that our heads didn’t go down and Willie Sawyers pulling a goal back was our reward for trying to have a go albeit the game was over as a contest by that time.”

Maxi went on to say ,”Now comes another test in facing another of the big guns in Glenafton and they are every bit as capable of making you pay for being anything less than 100% focused from first whistle to last.

“ Our teams have yet to meet in the league however I decided not to have Glenafton watched because Craig McEwan has kept the vast majority of last season’s squad and has injected some added quality with the signings of Jambo McKernon and Dale Moore .

“For that reason ,I expect their playing style to be very similar to last time and they are sure to again have a strong defensive shell that forces opposition sides to work for anything you get from them.”

Rob Roy supporters will be heartened to hear classy midfielder Stefan Law has declared himself available for the 3rd Round showdown even though he does not fly back into Scotland until Friday morning.

Maxi revealed ,”Stefan has been out in Milan on secondment as part of his University course for the past 12 weeks but has telephoned to say he is available if needed .

“It’s tempting as he was emerging as a very influential cog in the team before going away however it’s asking a lot to expect him to hit the ground running in a game of this importance.”

Last weekend’s Scottish Cup exit to Livingston was touched upon by proud Glens boss McEwan as he looked ahead to his side’s trip through to Guys Meadow.

He insisted ,” That’s the journey over but it’s been a hugely enjoyable experience and one the players and everyone connected with the club will be hoping to repeat.

“We can use that dream as our added motivation against Rob Roy who have been rejigged by Maxi this season yet remain a football playing side like ourselves so a cracking cup-tie is in prospect particularly with both teams coming into Saturday on the back of defeats.

“We have prepared well and have the boost of Darren McGill returning to training this week though a doubt hangs over Ally Park who will be a last minute decision as a result oof him picking up a slight concussion injury at Livingston .”

Last season’s beaten Cup finalists Auchinleck Talbot are on the road to face Hill O’ Beath who are no longer the formidable Cup force they were in the 1990’s and it would be a major upset if Tommy Sloan’s men fail to get past their Fife hurdle.