ARDENCAPLE Amateurs lost 3-1 as they hosted a strong, talented Garrowhill Thistle side last weekend at Hermitage Academy in their Central Scottish Amateur League fixture.

The visitors had travelled with a full squad and every player keen to stake their claim for a starting place in the forthcoming McEwan’s Challenge Trophy Final, which takes place next week at Lesser Hampden.

Despite suffering from a considerable list of injuries, Caple still managed to name a relatively strong squad for the match and competed well in early exchanges, taking a deserved lead on the half-hour mark.

A long through pass from Stevie Forrester was latched onto by Gary McKell who sprinted beyond the Thistle defence to knock the ball past the advancing keeper.

Garrowhill made several changes at half-time and came out of the blocks at a rapid pace, playing an entirely different game from the first half.

Caple struggled to cope with the visitors’ high-intensity tactics and it wasn’t long until their replacement striker notched an equaliser.

Worse was yet to come and Thistle soon took the lead with a back-post header before sealing victory late on to make it 3-1.

Caple Manager Craig Holborn told the Advertiser: “The standard of competition in this league is very high indeed, which means we are facing quality teams most weeks.

“That’s the reason we joined though, as we want to be consistently challenged and Garrowhill certainly showed their calibre today and provided a very tough test.

“We wish them well at Hampden and we now focus our sights on Newton Vale, away this weekend in Cambuslang.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been plagued by more than our fair share of long-term injuries but with some players resuming training and a few recent new additions, we look forward to consolidating our position and building for the season ahead.

“Anyone interested in coming on board should contact me on 07378 272 744.”

Building Firm and existing Ardencaple FC sponsor, KW Contracts, became the latest local organisation to support Caple Amateurs with its much-appreciated sponsorship of winter/rain jackets.

Holborn added “We are very grateful to Kenny and everyone at KW Contracts for their continued support of our club and this latest sponsorship of our amateur side.

“I’m sure the recent good weather won’t last forever and we’ll be needing our rain jackets in the very near future!”

Team: Craig Breeze, James Livingston, Brian Cameron, Stevie Forrester, Connor Hyslop, Saul Angus, Shaun Mitchell, Paul Cavana, Gary McKell, Connor Alden, Shaun Wallace. Subs: Ross Jeffrey, Darren Louden, John McAreavey, Steven Saunders.

Next up for Caple in the league is a trip to Cambuslang on Saturday, March 2, where Holborn’s side take on Newton Vale at Newton Farm. Kick-off is at 2pm.