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Oban Saints get this season’s West of Scotland Amateur Cup campaign under way this Saturday afternoon with a very tricky away tie against Uddingston.
Newly formed in 2017, Uddingston were admitted to the Strathclyde Saturday Morning Amateur Football League which was already home to some excellent teams and, in UB United, would provide the runners-up in last season’s West of Scotland Cup.
Placed in Division 1A of the league pyramid system, a sensational 31 points from a possible 36 saw Uddingston edge out Yoker United and Southside to be crowned league champions in their debut season.
After a thrilling title chase which went right down to the wire, Uddingston faced fellow league new boys and title hopefuls Yoker United in their final match of the season knowing that a draw would be good enough to secure the league trophy.
Yoker, whom Saints fans will recall from last season’s Scottish Amateur Cup seventh round tie at Glencruitten, required a win to draw level on points with Uddingston which, despite Yoker’s superior goal difference, would force a winner-takes-all play-off.
A blistering start at Uddingston’s Porterswell Playing Fields saw Yoker race into a two-goal lead. However, Uddingston were not to be denied their first piece of silverware and scored three second half goals without reply to lift the league trophy.
In addition to promotion to Championship A, Uddingston’s success earned manager Stephen Clarke the Strathclyde Saturday Morning Amateur Football League manager of the year award and players Keiran McGurk, Kieran Muldoon and Jack Lyons places in the league’s team of the year.
Uddingston have continued their excellent form into the new season, where six wins from six have lifted them to the top of the league table three points ahead of nearest challengers, Paisley-based Barony of Blackhall.
Although there is still a long way to go in the league campaign, Uddingston already look a good bet for a second successive promotion and a place in the Strathclyde Saturday Morning Amateur Football League Premier Division.
In the major cup competitions, narrow victories over Ayrshire’s New Farm Loch and Nico’s of their own league have set up a massive Scottish Amateur Cup home third round tie against Ayrshire Amateur Football Association giants and two-time cup winners Hurlford Thistle.
In the West of Scotland Cup, while Saints were enjoying a walkover against Greater Glasgow Premier Amateur Football League side Rannoch, Uddingston were paying a visit to Argyll to face last season’s Scottish Amateur Football League Premier Division Two Champions Lochgilphead Red Star.
Injuries to key players have prevented the Lochgilphead men from picking up where they left off last season and Uddingston returned home with a comfortable 3-0 victory under their belts to set up what is sure to be a keenly contested second round tie with Saints.
Saturday’s match on the 4G surface at Glasgow’s Toryglen Regional Football Centre must be played to a finish on the day with extra-time and penalty kicks coming into play to decide the winner if the two sides cannot be separated after 90 minutes. Kick-off at Toryglen is 1pm.
Taking charge of proceedings is experienced referee Stuart Broadfoot of the Central Scottish League.
Saints co-managers Don-ald Campbell and Willie Gemmell hope to have a strong squad to choose from with the good news that injured pair Matt Kelly and Myles McAuley may return to training this week but Matt Rippon is out with torn ligaments. The Oban side are expecting a difficult game, but if the squad play the way they have been recently, then a place in the third round draw should be on the cards.