McCallum hoping to spoil Hawks title party

PRIZE-GUY Graeme McCallum has pledged an encore to his Boroughmuir "player of the month" award by helping spoil Glasgow Hawks’ BT Premiership title celebrations at Anniesland tomorrow.

"Hawks will want to put on a show in their first game at home since picking up the crown but we have our own incentives at Boroughmuir," said the 28-year-old former Scotland under-21 second row.

He added: "With a Cup Final appearance to look forward to and also third place in the table to be consolidated it is important we finish strongly.

"What better way to do that than bringing down the champions in their own backyard?"

McCallum said recognition from club supporters during a period that includes the 17-0 Cup semi-final success against Ayr was a huge boost. It is always nice to be recognised," he said.

"Hopefully we can all carry forward the form shown against Ayr because it was one of the hardest matches of the season in terms of high standards and having to break down their especially solid defence."

That ’Muir came through was largely down to McCallum’s abilities to consistently pirate opposition line-out ball. And that was the type of form that took McCallum into Edinburgh’s European Cup line-up during the late 1990s before going off for a spell in New Zealand, and may even have caught the eye of Gunners scouts.

McCallum says he is looking no further than trying to add to previous Cup wins at Boroughmuir while hoping to draw on experiences in New Zealand in playing down contract prospects.

He said: "One of the highlights of my time in New Zealand was playing in the Bay of Plenty "A" side during the shadow national provincial championship.

"I gained an invaluable taste of the hard and fast way rugby is played in New Zealand which has undoubtedly been a benefit because, since returning, I’ve tried to maintain the intensive weight training programme the Kiwis all seem to undertake which might have helped on the individual front."

Meanwhile, ’Muir forwards coach Gerry Dryburgh has challenged his players to stake their claims for places in the April 30 final against either Dundee High or Aberdeen Grammar FPs - the pair meet tomorrow on Tayside - insisting the door is still open in key positions.

Among those missing tomorrow are Rory Coupar, who is with the Scotland sevens squad in Singapore, along with Scott Hadden and Euan Mattheson, who are injured.

Dougie Brown and Robert Cairns take up the wing vacancies with Andy Hadden switching from a wide berth to stand-off and Stuart Waddell moving to second row. Dryburgh said: "We still have an open mind about Cup Final selection so there is scope for individuals to play their way in during the two match run-in which also includes Melrose at home." Glasgow Hawks make at least two changes up front with Greg Francis replacing Steve Swindall and Matt Smith taking over from Fergus Thomson. At full back Colin Shaw faces a late fitness test.

Boroughmuir: J Reilly, D Brown, G Kiddie, S Ruddick, R Cairns, A Hadden, C Cusiter, R Mathieson, D Cunningham, F Lait, S Waddell, G McCallum, C Capaldi, B Disher, A Martyn. Subs: J Cox, A Sievewright, AN Other, AN Other.

Glasgow Hawks: C Shaw or M Adamson, S Gordon, A Maclay, S Duffy, W Henry, M Strang, K Sinclair, E Milligan, M Smith, P Dalton, R Maxton, A Warnock, G Francis, N McKenzie, M Sitch. Subs: J Malakoty, S Begley, M Adamson or C Shaw.