MARYHILL must look to develop a “more clinical nature” if they are to climb away from the foot of the Super First Division table says manager John Hughes.

He was speaking last night ahead of a friendly outing against local amateur outfit Maryhill Thistle arranged to give his Lochburn Park playing charges some much needed game time following a month of inactivity caused by a rash of fixture postponements.

The famous old Glasgow club face a challenging trip to face Rutherglen Glencairn on Saturday in the first of two crunch contests before entering the festive shutdown period and hardworking gaffer Hughes is urging his troops to pull together and chalk up their first league win of the season.

“Nobody can deny we’ve made ourselves difficult to beat after picking up draws in each of our last three league outings," said the Hill boss.

“And a lot of the credit for our turning the corner is down to us being far better organised defensively than we were earlier in the season because if you take friendly affairs into the equation then the guys have ten draws to their name in a run of eleven games.

“Everyone is working hard and playing a part but credit is due to the experienced heads of Andy Banks and Joe Begley combining well with first season Junior prospect Alex McFarlane who stepped up from Barrhead Under 21’sduring the summer months and has excelled alongside the other pair.

“And now we also have big Reece McGillion coming back to full fitness following a longish spell on the sidelines so I’m feeling a whole lot happier with our backline however I do realise a big test awaits us against a very good footballing side like Glencairn.

“I took in their recent 3-2 victory over Shettleston where the front pairing of Gary Smith and Jay Mackay caught the eye and neither did it escape my notice that the Glens had another top goalscorer Liam Gormley on the substitutes bench.

“A team boasting those attacking riches have plenty of goals in them so I wasn’t in the least bit surprised to see they ran out 6-0 Scottish Cup winners against Stonehaven last weekend and I’ll be stressing the importance of being fully focused for 90 minutes if we are to stand any chance of keeping their gas at a peep.”

Hughes was planning to utilise fully 22 players in last night’s friendly – “everyone will get 45 minutes” – inclusive of recent signings Sean McColl and Jack McLarty whom he described as very good additions to his playing squad.

He added: "Sean was previously with Rob Roy and can operate at right back or as a flank player going forward and we are fortunate to have him on board as he’s certainly Super Premier Division quality.

“Jack is only 21 and was last season’s e Central Scottish Amateur young player of the year after notching 37 goals for his club Greenock H.S.F.P’s and we have high hopes for him but do not want to make the mistake of putting too much pressure on his young shoulders.

“His eye for goal will soon see him make his mark and he probably would have done so already but for stuttering season of stops and starts because of unplayable pitches however he and all the other guys are working their socks off on the training ground and only last Monday I put them through what was akin to a pre-season session without hearing a single complaint .

”And another player I fancy to make an impact before too long is Frankie Owens ,now back at Lochburn as a result of his work commitments easing and Frankie undoubtedly has the qualities to be a big player for us in the second half of the season.”

Rival managers talk about how Hughes always seems to be in attendance whenever juvenile and amateur matches are taking place and he insists there will be no let-up in his search to unearth a “diamond or two”.

He said: "There is a lot of talent at other levels of the game and I look upon it as part of my job to be trying to improve Maryhill’s playing resources but I am not blinkered into only looking at the amateur ranks.

“Already we have snapped up Anthony Marenghi from Hurlford United and I am not against the concept of bringing in loan players from higher league clubs but they have to show themselves to be better than the players currently holding down the jerseys.”

Game of the day contender in the Super First stakes is the Portland Park showdown between third placed Troon and two points better off Renfrew side that have yet to lose a league match on the road this season and will be seeking to avenge their Scottish Junior Cup exit at the hands of the Ayrshiremen.

Fourth top Cambuslang Rangers will go all out to revive their title bid when hosting the visit of fifth placed Largs Thistle while a basement battle is on the cards through in Lanarkshire with Larkhall Thistle will be seeking to make home advantage tell and open up a five points gap on joint bottom markers Shettleston.