Clydebank secured promotion back to the Super Premier Division in style with a 4-1 win over Shettleston on Saturday afternoon.
Nicky Little’s double saw him equal his tally from last season, while goals from Jordan Shelvey and Jamie Darroch saw Bankies seal their sixth consecutive victory and promotion to the top flight in front of a crowd in excess of 600 at Holm Park.
Bankies boss Kieran McAnespie named an unchanged starting eleven for the third successive game, with Clydebank U19 striker Joe Slee called up to the bench following his goal in last weekend’s Scottish Cup Final.
It was not the start Bankies hoped for though, as they went behind inside the opening five minutes. Ross Carrigan’s long throw was met by the boot of Paul Kelly inside the area, and the striker’s exquisite volley flew into the top corner as Shettleston took the lead.
With a win essential to win promotion, the early goal sparked Bankies into life and they were level just minutes later. Little picked up a loose ball, but Rikky McIntosh’s attempted interception put the ball on a plate for Shelvey, who slipped the ball through Shettleston stopper Gary Whyte’s legs to bring Bankies level.
And from the restart, Bankies could’ve been ahead after McAnespie’s first time through ball set up Shelvey, who pulled his shot wide of the near post.
Near the half hour mark, Clydebank did find the breakthrough. McAnespie’s driven corner found Jamie Darroch lurking at the back post, with the centre back on hand to nod home his second goal in as many games as Bankies went into half time a goal to the good.
After a fairly subdued opening to the second period, Bankies added a third just before the hour. Little dropped deep to receive the ball and released Burbidge, who terrorised Shettleston right back Robert Carrigan before cutting the ball back to Little, who thumped home to extend Clydebank’s advantage.
Bankies began to take full control of proceedings at Holm Park, and could’ve added several more goals to their tally. A quick passing move saw Little feed Burbidge, but the winger failed to get any contact on the ball as the move petered out.
Little then found Burbidge again with a neat pass over the top, with the winger feeding substitute Peter McGill, but Whyte made a brilliant reaction save to thwart his effort before Calum Gow’s thumping header somehow flew wide of the target.
With two minutes remaining, Bankies continued pressure paid dividends with their fourth goal of the game. McAnespie’s first time cross was perfect for Little, whose flicked header looped over Whyte and into the net as he grabbed his 21st goal of the season to equal his and Darian MacKinnon’s record goals tally.
McAnespie’s men weren’t content with four though, and continued in search of a fifth. Neat wing play from McGill saw him weave his way into the box and cut the ball back for Little, but there was to be no back-to-back hat-tricks as Whyte parried his shot to safety as the full time whistle sounded and Clydebank confirmed their place in next year’s Super Premier Division.