Ross McLaughlin opened his account for East Kilbride in a thumping 5-0 win over 10-man Cumbernauld Colts to help his side reach the South Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
And Kilby gaffer Chris Aitken says the former Celtic youth midfielder has boosted his hopes of extending his initial four-week deal at K-Park.
The 22-year-old, who was part of Celtic’s 2019 Glasgow Cup wining side, netted the second goal of the game at Broadwood as Kilby cruised through thanks to an own-goal, a Jamie Stevenson strike and a Cammy Elliot brace.
And Aitken said: “I’m pleased for Ross. He’s come in at a tough time and he’s signed on a four-week contract where he needs to go and provide himself.
“I said to him before the game to just keep doing what he’d been doing and he got his goal, which he deserved.
“He was excellent in the first half, he kept the tempo up and he kept the guys next to him right. It was good to get him 90 minutes in his legs.
“He’s got two more games of his deal and if he keeps going, then I’m sure we’ll be able to get something sorted for him to the end of the season.”
Colts were reduced to 10-men after just 18 minutes when ex-EK defender Dom McLaren denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity and that came after the visitors suffered an early blow themselves, with new signing BJ Coll hobbling off on his second debut for the club.
Aitken revealed the defender has pulled his calf, but he won’t know the full extent of the issue until the start of next week.
He explained: “BJ Came off injured after 15 minutes and it looks as though he’s done his calf in. That’s disappointing but there’s nothing we can do.
“We will get him in on Tuesday, we’ll get him assessed, get the physios working on him, and hopefully we’ve caught it at the right time.
“Hopefully it’s not a complete pull and he’ll only miss one or two games. We took him off more as a precaution so he didn’t do any more damage, and we might be missing him for 6-8 weeks.
“Saturday will probably be a bit too soon for BJ, even if it’s not too bad.”
East Kilbride have set their sights on lifting the South Challenge Cup, as they bid to take something from a disappointing season which has seen them fall well off the pace in the Lowland League.
And Aitken was delighted with an accomplished performance from his side, which also saw ex-Airdrie midfielder Jamie Watt get his debut following his arrival on Wednesday.
He said: “It’s a very pleasing result and it was a good day at the office.
“When the opposition goes down to 10 that came make it hard sometimes, but the boys really kept the foot on the gas and got the goals.
“It was well-deserved. They moved the ball well and some of the football was really good. I know it was against 10 men, but you’ve still got to go and do a job, and they went and did that.
“At 4-0 at half-time the game was done and we could have got more than just the one in the second half. It was good to get Jamie 90 minutes under his belt as well.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.