GORDON BRODIE says his Rhu Amateurs’ Caledonian League squad did themselves proud on Saturday – despite falling just short in their bid for a place in the semi-finals of the Douglas Smith League Cup.

A single second half goal was enough for visitors East Kilbride YM to book their spot in the last four of the tournament – but Rhu gave their visitors, who are currently 10 points clear at the top of the Premier Division, an almighty fright with a battling, well-drilled and confident display in front of a bumper crowd at Ardenconnel Park.

As expected, EKYM started fast and moved the ball about well, but Rhu stuck to their guns and after an initial barrage of attacks on the home goal the hosts started to find their feet and create a number of chances of their own after some great work by the whole team.

The tie remained poised at 0-0 at half-time, but a momentary lapse in concentration allowed the visitors to pounce with a well-taken goal to take the lead.

But Rhu weren’t deterred, and stuck to their normal flowing football throughout the team – and were very unlucky not to convert at least one of their second half chances, though the visitors were always dangerous in attack and it needed some top goalkeeping from ‘Gubba’ between the posts for Rhu to keep the match evenly poised.

Brodie said afterwards: “Rhu can hold their heads high as we produced a tremendous team performance throughout the match and showed everyone watching that we are building something special at Ardenconnel.

“With an average age of 23 this squad has all the makings of a great team.”

This Saturday, March 11, Rhu’s Caledonian League squad travel to Garscube to face Westerlands (KO 2pm).

Meanwhile, Rhu Colts manager Jamie Kjörstad says he’s confident his team are heading in the right direction despite a 3-1 defeat away to River Nevis in their latest Glasgow Colleges FA league clash on Saturday.

On a bumpy park the teams struggled to get settled and as a result the first half was a scrappy affair, with both sides struggling to take control of the game.

Rhu’s best chance of the half fell to Murdo Burch, with the young winger getting on the end of a cross a few yards out, but his effort was saved by the keeper.

The deadlock was broken by the home team just before half time when a long ball knocked into the box wasn’t dealt with properly, and the Nevis striker slipped the ball past stand-in Rhu keeper Ali Maule.

The second half started a bit brighter for Rhu, with the midfield now beginning to dominate the middle of the park and creating a good few chances for Dale Walker – but on a frustrating day for the big striker, he found his attempts blocked or saw them slip past the post.

In an effort to change things up, Ali Milton was brought on in the middle of the park – and it proved an inspired change, with the substitute latching on to a slack clearance by a defender and lashing the ball home from outside the box.

Sadly for Rhu it was the home side who responded better to the equaliser, and moved back into the lead with a disputed offside goal before sealing the win against a tiring Rhu team with a third five minutes from the end.

Afterwards Kjörstad said: “It was a disappointing result for the boys, but on another day a game that we would have won comfortably.

“We are certainly heading in the right direction and with the hard work being put in the background by coaches Rob Dawson and Paul McColl the lads are responding well.”

Squad: Maule, Kjörstad, Caldow, Brown, Moy, Young, Welsh, Cameron, Black, Burch, Walker, Milton, Brown, Thomson, Aitken, Dawson.

Elsewhere, Rhu’s newly-formed over-35s team began their Football Central League campaign with a 2-0 defeat to Haldane United at Argyll Park on Friday night.

The first half was a very close affair with the visitors having the best of the chances, and Rhu should have taken the lead after a promising first ten minutes, Ian Young finding himself with only the keeper to beat – but the big striker’s shot struck the post and rolled clear.

Haldane came into the game the longer the first half went on, and it was the home side who opened the scoring just before half time – and who dominated the second half as Rhu’s fitness levels started to fade.

Determined defending and some smart goalkeeping by Stevenson kept Haldane at bay for most of the second period, but the hosts’ pressure eventually paid off with a second goal 10 minutes from the end.

Coach Sam Gemmell said: “It was a decent start to our league campaign considering we only got together two weeks prior to the game.

“Some of the lads are meeting up for the first time and some hadn’t managed to get any form of training in but we are all pretty confident that as the games continue, we will get stronger and more used to playing together.”

Next up is a home game against Harmony Row in two weeks’ time.

Squad: Stevenson, Dawson, Packham, Makeham, Morrison, Gray, Philips, Ward, McKell, Gurney, Young, M Rickards, Burton, McGaffney, Campbell.