RHU Amateurs boss Stewart Maule admits he is relishing the opportunity of going up against some of the best teams in Scottish amateur football after his side finally returned to the pitch.

The DCF Park outfit were in competitive action on Wednesday night for the first time since October 3 after restrictions were lifted that had previously prevented amateur football from taking place.

Non-contact training was allowed to continue in that time however clubs can now take part in full contact sessions, as well as competitive fixtures against clubs from ‘Level 2’ areas, as outlined by the Scottish Government.

Rhu met Paisley side Thorn Athletic in their first William Turner Challenge Cup group tie on Wednesday evening, losing 4-0, but Maule hailed the attitude of his players who have kept putting in the hours on the training pitch over lockdowns.

Speaking to the Advertiser, he said: “It will be a challenge but one that our club is looking forward to.

“A lot of the players have had a change in circumstances. Shifts have changed, jobs have changed, some players have even lost a wee bit of enthusiasm for the game and might not come back.

“The players we do have, have worked hard in training and are really looking forward to getting back out playing again.

“We have an incredibly tough League Cup section and we’re excited about the prospect of playing some of the best teams in Scottish amateur football.”

Last month, Rhu announced a historic partnership with Helensburgh that will see the two clubs join together to create a local hub for adult football.

READ MORE: Rhu Amateurs and Helensburgh FC announce historic partnership

Maule admits changes on the park won’t be noticed until next year but plans are already under way to behind the scenes to prepare both sides for the integration.

He added: “Helensburgh’s amateur side won’t fully join up with us until the end of the season.

“We are in constant dialogue with them regarding plans for next season, and we hope they do themselves proud in their League Cup section.

“It’s exciting times to be involved in local amateur football and we all can’t wait for pre-season and what we hope will be the start of something big.”

The club have also released their kits for the coming season in what is their 125th anniversary of being formed, with the home strip paying tribute to one of Rhu’s best teams from the past.

Fifty-four years ago this month, Donnie Thomson’s side won the Scottish Amateur Cup at Hampden Park with a 3-1 victory over Penilee and the club have marked this achievement with a retro strip similar to the one the cup winning squad wore.

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Maule explained: “We wanted a special strip to help commemorate our 125th anniversary.

“For people connected with Rhu there is no more iconic team or strip than the 1967 one, so it was an easy decision for the committee.

“Babcock kindly sponsored it for us and we’re absolutely delighted with how it’s turned out.”

Rhu’s next cup games are away to St Joseph’s AFC today (Saturday, May 22), and away to Dumbarton Academy FP next Wednesday, May 26.

Helensburgh’s amateurs also played their first competitive match of the year on Wednesday night – a Greater Glasgow Premier AFL Spring Cup tie against Vale of Leven Amateurs at Hermitage Academy.

Helensburgh’s fixture list continues with an away tie against South Lochaber Thistle today (Saturday), before Oban Saints visit Hermitage Academy on May 29.