RHU Amateurs' manager says he can hardly believe the progress the club has made, both on and off the pitch, in the first half of the 2019-20 season.

The club’s Caledonian League campaign resumes this Saturday, January 11, with a trip to Lanarkshire to face Holytown Colts.

Ahead of Saturday’s fixture, boss Stewart Maule told the Advertiser that the difference between the club that saw in 2019, and the one which waved goodbye to the old year last week, was “night and day”.

“The progress we have made as a club off the park, particularly since the start of this season, has surpassed anybody’s expectations,” he said.

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“To have had our clubhouse renovated inside and out, and to have got the help and support we’ve had from so many people, has made it a completely different club – even to the one it was six months ago.

“For example, we held a children’s party in the clubhouse just before Christmas – we couldn’t even have thought about doing that 12 months previously.

“The idea of us having 100 members would have been laughed at 12 months ago. But there is so much goodwill towards this club, going back four generations, and that’s why I keep saying we are ‘more than a team’.

“Some of our players have said they can’t believe they’re being stopped in the street by people saying how pleased they are that we’re doing well, and asking about the next game.

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“We hoped, and thought, something like that would happen over time, but for so much to have happened so quickly has surpassed everyone’s expectations.”

On the pitch, the first half of the club’s campaign featured some notable cup scalps as well as much-improved Caledonian League form – and a more competitive attitude from week to week.

“If someone had told me at the start of the season that we would beat some of the teams we’ve beaten, I would probably have laughed at them,” Maule continued.

“But the boys have all stepped up, played some great football at times and got some great results.

“The fact we’ve competed every week, even in the games we’ve lost, and seen the boys hurting when we’ve been beaten, is probably the most encouraging thing of all for me.

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“Going into the new year, the big challenge is the same one facing all amateur teams these days – to find more consistency of selection, based around people’s work patterns and lifestyles, rather than anything tactical.

“All we ever want is to do better than the season before.

“As a team, are we better than we were last season? Absolutely.

“The challenge now, both on and off the park, is keeping that momentum up.”

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