BOTH of Rhu Amateurs’ teams were knocked out of the Scottish Amateur Cup at the first hurdle on Saturday.

Injuries, work commitments and Covid isolation requirements took their toll on the club’s Caledonian League and Greater Glasgow Premier AFL squads.

The ‘Caley’ squad had high hopes for their away match against Kirkintilloch Thistle, but with a squad of only 12 players ended up losing 3-1, with Gary Stillwell the man on target for the visitors.

The Greater Glasgow squad, meanwhile, couldn’t have asked for a tougher tie even if they’d had a full strength side, but in the end proved no match for Dumbarton’s St Patrick’s FP, long regarded as one of the strongest amateur teams in the west of Scotland, who won 7-0.

Reflecting on the day’s action, manager Stewart Maule said in a post on the club’s Facebook page: “We’ve been doing this a long time but this week has been the most challenging and frustrating time I’ve ever had since being involved in amateur football.

“To have 27 players unavailable through injury, work and Covid is unprecedented. Both teams had call-offs Thursday, Friday and then Saturday morning.

“To be able to field two teams says a lot about our strength in depth and how far we’ve actually come in three years.

READ MORE: Mixed fortunes for Rhu's two teams as Caley squad beats students while Greater Glasgow team is thumped at home

“It also says a huge amount about the guys that played. They stepped up, changed shifts, went to work after the game, and played out of position to ensure the matches went ahead.”

Looking back on the Caledonian League side’s defeat, Maule added: “The Rhu players’ effort and attitude was incredible.

“On a normal weekend the result wouldn’t have been in doubt for Rhu but this was a far from normal weekend.

“We can only hope this isn’t the new normal for our wee club.”

Against St Patrick’s, Rhu immediately found themselves up against it in the face of a home side who pushed forward right from kick-off and breached the visitors’ defence after 10 minutes.

Rhu were unlucky not to draw level when MacLachlan’s header from a Caldwell cross bounced back off the crossbar before being cleared, but most of the pressure came from the hosts and despite some good stops by Gemmell in goal, and some fine work by the Rhu defence, St Pat’s added two more goals before the break.

READ MORE: Hard work on the road for battling Rhu squad as Gemmell's troops secure a point in Bearsden

In the second half the fitness levels of the two teams became increasingly apparent, and in spite of several more good saves and blocking tackles by the Rhu defence, the hosts knocked in another four before the final whistle.

Manager Sam Gemmell said afterwards: “It sounds a really bad score, but we did stick at it and our performance was a great deal better than last Saturday’s.

“We were up against one of the top teams in amateur football in the west of Scotland and I hope the lads had a look at the difference between both teams in regard to personal fitness levels and their movement both on and off the ball to see where we need to improve.

“That being said, we were struggling this week across the board with call-offs, and with only a couple of subs to call on, it made for a long day for some others who played through injury.”

GGPAFL squad: Gemmell, Porter, Cameron, Johns, Meader, Sibley, McKee, Dods, MacLachlan, Bygrave, Caldwell, McConnell, Griffiths.

This Saturday, September 11, Rhu’s Caledonian League team travel to Bute to take on Rothesay Brandane, while the Greater Glasgow squad host their St Patrick’s FP counterparts at the DCF Park at 2pm.

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