TWO-time Scottish Junior Cup winner Keir Milliken is hoping for the perfect early Christmas present by helping steer Beith into the last 32 of the national competition.

The Garnock Valley club are confident their third round tie away to Fifers Crossgates Primrose will be played on Saturday, following three postponements in the Kingdom.

Milliken, who won the competition twice with Auchinleck Talbot, admitted the team were desperate to come out of the traps and said: "It has been frustrating not playing for the last three Saturdays, we have trained and played bounce games but that can't compare with a real match.

"We look forward to the game, hopefully we can do there and get the job done. It would be a great early Christmas present if we could get through. The Scottish Cup drives your season and if you're still in it that can have a bearing on how you play in the league. Hopefully we can win something this season - that's the target. We have a good squad with competition for places."

Beith warmed up for the clash on Monday with a 5-2 win in a friendly against East Kilbride Thistle at Meadowside on Monday night. Ross McPherson scored a double and David McKenna, Jamie Cunningham and Richie Burke were also on target.

Boss Johnny Millar is desperate for weekend action and said: "They are not a bad side, scored four goals in a recent match and only lost 1-0 to Linlithgow Rose. But it sounds as if it will be on as the forecast is better. Hopefully we can do a professional job and get through. It's important to do well in the Scottish Cup."

Ardeer Thistle manager Derek Gemmell, meanwhile is disappointed with his team's 1-0 defeat at home to Irvine Vics and stresses there is room for improvement.

He said: "It was a tight game and there wasn't much between the teams. It hinged on one mistake as a defender didn't make a clearance and they scored. We can't keep saying we're unlucky in defeat and must start putting points on the board. Now we'll keep the boys ticking over the holidays with a couple of friendlies."

Poor defending played a part in Saltcoats Victoria's 4-0 home defeat against Annbank United.

That was the message from assistant manager Mark Ferris, who took charge of the team with boss George Grierson unavailable.

He said: "It was a really disappointing result, and we conceded three very cheap goals, although Annbank were the better team and deserved to win. We had been looking to go into the New Year on a high with our third win in a row, but it wasn't to be."

Kilwinning Rangers play Largs Thistle in a friendly at Barrfields Park next Wednesday, December 27, ko 1pm.