Rutherglen Glencairn JFC under-21s finished last season in mid-table and with the Lady Darling Cup in the trophy cabinet - a good year by most standards, but coach Alex McArthur has his sights set on bigger wins in 2015/2016.
A poor season in 13/14 meant the management team, which also includes Andy McFadyen, Jamie McGall, and Tam Bennett, knew last year would be about restructuring in a bid to benefit the club going forward.
"Last season was a building season and we brought in a fresh new squad," McArthur told Youth Football Scotland. "We hoped to win something but the Lady Darling Cup was beyond our wildest expectations."
With the foundations laid and looking promising, this summer came the challenge of adding to the squad without upsetting the balance but McArthur believes they have done just that.
“The problem we had last year was we had to add quality not quantity and I believe we’ve done that this year. We have five superb additions that will strengthen us - a striker, a left winger, two central defenders and a boy who can play right back or centre-mid. Around five of the squad are aged 21 and this is their last season with us, so we hope they’ll go out with a bang and move on to Glencairn Juniors or another junior club. I have high hopes for us.”
But how high? It’s only a few short years since the team of 2012/2013 won the treble and McArthur doesn’t feel daunted by the prospect of playing in their shadow.
“You’ve got to plan to win everything you enter and we want to emulate the treble team of three seasons ago. The league is the ultimate goal of course but also the Scottish Cup and League Cups. There’s a buzz about the boys and they have set high expectations for themselves but there’s a lot of good teams in the league like Tower Hearts, Goldenhill and Harmony Row who will be stiff opposition.”
With the league kick-off imminent, a good pre-season is always important and Rutherglen Glencairn have started well, winning all four of their games against junior teams without conceding a goal and scoring 12 - the highlight of which was a 3-0 victory over Drumchapel, where McArthur says his boys played “some of their best football in years”. Three games against much sterner junior opposition led to two narrow defeats and a draw from which the management team are taking many positives.
First up in the league is Antonine Football Club and despite his optimism for the season ahead McArthur is taking nothing for granted.
“They gave us a couple of hard games last year so I’m anticipating another hard game on Saturday but we’re at home so we like to think we’ll win all our home games.”
It remains to be seen if the current squad can match the achievements of Rutherglen Glencairn teams of the past but there’s no doubt their coaches believe in them.