SAM GEMMELL says he’s “quietly confident” that his Rhu Amateurs players aren’t far away from turning the corner in what’s been a challenging league campaign so far.

Gemmell’s Greater Glasgow Premier League squad were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Glasgow University A in their first match of 2022 on Saturday – but the team’s manager says his squad’s performances of late give him and assistant boss Russell Makeham plenty of reason to be optimistic for the rest of the league campaign.

Speaking after Saturday’s match, in which the visitors fought back from behind twice to take a share of the spoils, Gemmell told the Advertiser: “As one of the lads said at the final whistle, it felt like a defeat.

“But we have had quite a few of these, where we have been in control only to finish up with not a lot to show for it.

“The boys cannot be faulted as we are competing in every game and maybe one day our luck will turn.

“When you’re at the bottom of the league, it looks a long way up, but we know what we need to do, so we just have to dust ourselves down and go again.

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“It won’t be easy, but both Russell and myself have a lot of faith in the squad at our disposal, and are quietly confident that we can find that spark that will ignite our season.”

With overnight rain making the park very heavy it took some time for both teams to settle on Saturday, but it was the hosts who were the more dominant in the opening period, with strikers Jones and Jeffrey keeping the visitors’ defence on their toes.

Both strikers had a major part to play in the opening goal after 20 minutes; McConnell broke up a Uni attack and slipped the ball in to Cameron, and he then found Jones for a slick pass in to the feet of Jeffrey, who fired it into the net.

Buoyed by the opener, the home side pushed for a second and Jeffrey again came close, this time with a powerful shot after a driving run, before Cameron was just inches away with a chip over the keeper which scraped the outside of the post.

But another slice of bad luck was just a miskick away for the hosts; no one saw much danger when Conroy broke up an attack by the visitors and played the ball back to Gallacher in goal, but as the keeper went to launch the ball down the park, it took a wicked bobble on the heavy surface and rolled under his foot, giving the Uni centre forward, who had been setting himself up to block the clearance, an easy job to prod the equaliser over the line.

The second half was a much more open contest, with Rhu doing most of the pressing and the visitors relying on the long ball to try and unsettle the home defence.

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And the home side took a deserved lead for a second time on the hour when Jones fired home from the penalty spot after referee David Smith spotted a push on Jeffrey as he went for a cross.

Rhu continued to dominate but found the Uni keeper in fine form, making some smart saves to deny Jones and Cameron.

And the lack of an all-important two goal cushion came back to bite Rhu, who conceded a harsh free kick some 20 yards out – but the shot and deflection that followed was a lot worse for the hosts, as the ball evaded Gallacher’s outstretched hand and found the back of the net.

Rhu didn’t give up and forced the visitors into some desperate defending late on to prevent the loss of a third; Cameron thought he’d won it for the hosts late on, but held his head in despair as his shot rattled back off the crossbar with the Uni keeper well beaten.

This Saturday, January 22, Rhu’s Greater Glasgow squad travel to Stepps to take on Cambria. Kick-off is at 2pm.

Meanwhile, the boss of Rhu’s Caledonian League side leads his team into home action this Saturday for the first time since his appointment to the role over the festive season.

So far, Gordon Brodie has seen his side lose out to Finnart in the Douglas Smith League Cup and to Doune Castle in the league, both away from home.

This Saturday, Brodie’s troops play host to league leaders St Joseph’s. Kick-off at the DCF Park is at 2pm.