Maryhill FC ready for challenge of new West of Scotland League

It’s more than eight months since Maryhill kicked a ball in anger.

Jamie Gray has been on good form for Maryhill in their pre-season friendlies

Coronavirus halted last season and has put the brakes on the start of this one too, but manager Ross Wilson has used that time wisely and constructed a squad he thinks can make an impact on the new campaign.

And it all gets under way this Saturday when North Glasgow rivals Ashfield visit Lochburn.

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Wilson can’t wait and said: “It will be fantastic to get back to some sort of fragmented reality as there is only so much preparation you can do and friendlies you can play.

“At some point, the players and coaches need competitive football, and to that end, this Saturday can’t come soon enough.

“That said, I’d like to think we have used the time wisely.

“We’ve recruited a certain way, and I’d like to think we’ve used the pandemic to our advantage by playing eight pre-season friendlies in order to help the players gel together.”

But those eight challenge matches have included games against some of the top teams in the country, like Pollok and Kilwinning Rangers.

Wilson explained: “I wanted to test our players against some of the best at our level, and I believe that will help us all in the long run.

“What pleased me most is that we competed against these teams, and whereas we might have suffered heavier defeats before, this time we ran them a lot closer.

“That augurs well for the season ahead, although looking at our redrawn league, Conference A, there will be no easy games. The league looks really competitive and our aim is to be in the mix from the start.”

The average age of the current Maryhill squad is no greater than 25, and Wilson insisted that he isn’t just building a team for the current season but for the future.

He said: “This squad is in its infancy. I want to build something long-term at Lochburn, something lasting. That’s my goal.

“I’d like to think I have something approaching 17 or 18 players who would be disappointed if they’re not in the starting XI. That’s a good place to start.”