by Stewart McConnell and Frank Cassidy

BUOYANT Kilwinning Rangers boss Chris Strain praised his players for their "exceptional" performance against Glenafton Athletic.

Buffs played nearly 80 minutes with 10 men following the red-carding of James Latta to draw 1-1 and extend their lead at the top of the table to five points.

The Abbey Park boss said: "My boys' performance was exceptional. Ten men after 10 minutes and I can't remember Glenafton having a direct shot in the first half after the sending off. There were decisions that went against us but the boys have just parked it and got on with it. I am just delighted with my players"

He felt his team could even have sneaked a win and added: "Adam Strain had one save to make in the second half but, beyond that, we were the better team and deserved the point. We probably deserved three and were unlucky with Tommy Maitland's header which hit the post right at the end. They were controlled in the way they got back into the game and never went gung-ho.

However he cautioned: "We have done nothing yet. We have shown we are right in there and fighting for the title but in terms of champions, you will not hear anyone in our dressing room talking in those terms. There were no failures."

Strain was sent off for failing to control his dug-out and that there was unacceptable behaviour from the dug-out/

He added: "If that stands I will be representing myself wholeheartedly. The SFA's referee assessor told me after the game that the match official had no need to approach our dug-out and was just courting controversy."

Buffs on Saturday head to basement team Clydebank and Strain said: "I told the players to ignore the fact Clydebank are bottom, it's a hard place to go but we want to maintain our good run,"

Meanwhile Irvine Meadow boss Brian McGinty was happy with his team's showing as they defeated Dyce 2-0 in a rearranged Scottish Junior Cup third round tie.

He said: "Our new signing Paul McQuilken has added quality and set up the first goal. We deserved to win."

They now host Dunbar in the fourth round on Saturday.

McGinty added: "It's our first home game in a long time, hopefully we get a good crowd and go through."

Irvine Vics boss Stevie Wilson saluted his team as they came from behind to defeat Muirkirk 3-1.

But he criticised visiting boss Kevin Muirhead for what he claimed on Twitter was a "reckless" challenge on goalie Nathan Bogle.

He said: "There was a coming together between their defender, our player Dylan Hamilton and their goalie. You couldn't help it. Our players don't go out to injure people."

Added Wilson: "It was an important win, we are home at Saltcoats on Saturday. Hopefully we will win."

Vics on Monday lost 4-2 in a friendly at Beith, David Smith and David Adams on target.