ROBERT WALKER’S second five-goal haul of the season moved Bute a big step closer to promotion back to the Premier League after the islanders’ best team display of the campaign so far at Yoker on Saturday.
Perhaps with last season still in mind, when a damaging 3-1 defeat to the Glasgow side played a big part in Bute’s eventual relegation - the islanders wasted no time in shattering Mid Argyll’s own unbeaten record, chalking up an 11th straight win and moving three points clear at the top of the table in the process.
It took Bute only four minutes to open the scoring after a fine move from defence, when Brian Liddle’s clearance sent Leighton Reid scampering up the wing - and after a 50-yard run, the youngster picked out Gordon McMillan, who threaded an inch-perfect pass between two defenders for Walker to send a clean strike into the net.
And that set the tone for the rest of the first half, with Bute stretching their hosts at every opportunity; Walker’s second on 12 minutes, with a shot from the edge of the D, followed good work on the left by David Whitelaw and captain John McCallum.
Walker completed his hat-trick and then added a fourth for good measure to end the match as a contest with only half an hour still on the clock.
At the other end, keeper David MacDonald was a spectator in the early stages - the game was 30 minutes old before he had so much as a bye-hit.
Ben Phimister pulled one back for the home side shortly before the break, but with Bute’s centre line dominating proceedings, and Liddle and Iain MacDonald in commanding form at half back, GMA were never going to be given more than scraps to live off.
The one-way traffic resumed at the start of the second half; with the wind at their backs Bute were soon back in firm control of the play, and Roberto Zavaroni made it five with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
But Bute were still hungry for more, and there was something special about their sixth and final goal, when Donnie McDermid - who moved to full-back after substitute Robert Ferguson came on in place of Hector Whitelaw - launched a long ball forward from defence, and Walker caught it as it dropped out of the air and lashed a superb volley into the net, the ball not having hit the ground from one end of the park to the other.
“Saturday’s was our best team performance of the season,” coach Barry Martin told us.
“Mid Argyll were unbeaten themselves before the game, so it was important to get them off our backs - and everything clicked on the day. The boys played really well.”
* This Saturday, August 20, Bute return to home soil and a league match against a Kilmory side still facing a fight to avoid relegation to South Division Two.
Throw-up at the Meadows is at 2.30pm.* The Bute second team’s league game at home to their Glasgow Mid Argyll counterparts last Saturday was postponed after heavy overnight rain left the Meadows waterlogged.
Bute’s second team have no game this weekend.