ARDEER Thistle suffered a costly defeat in their battle against relegation on Saturday.

They travelled to Burnside Park to face a Muirkirk side who were five points ahead of Sean Kenney's men heading into the fixture.

A win would have brought the East Ayrshire side back within touching distance of Thistle - though a 1-0 loss for the Stevenston side has made their relegation dog fight even harder.

It was a challenging first half for Sean Kenney's side, with the manager admitting his team never got going in the first 45.

They fell behind on 15 minutes when Muirkirk were awarded a penalty which was duly converted.

The Ardeer boss spoke to the club's social media team after the match and lamented their performance in the early stages.

He said: “We can’t wait 55 minutes before we properly play, we’ve got no right to do that against anyone.

“Muirkirk got in front and could have been well out of sight by that point.

“We’ve gave ourselves too much to do, and if you’re not going to take your chances then you’re not going to win games of football.”

While he added that even when they did turn it on for the last 35 minutes, they were simply not clinical enough.

A barrage of missed chances in the latter stages included a missed penalty - with talisman Dylan Stevenson seeing his effort saved.

Kenney added: “We’ve got our penalty, we’ve missed it. We’ve created chances that we’ve missed – there’s no doubt about it, they’re just complete sitters. It’s really disappointing.”

Making matters worse for Thistle, substitute Ben Strain saw red in the final five minutes, little over ten minutes after coming onto the park.

Now, Kenney says it is time for the squad to move on, re-group, and prepare for next weekend.

He commented: “We need to take this one on the chin. There’s things I could have done better, there’s things the boys could have done better – we’re all in this together.”

Next up for Thistle is a trip to Wishaw this Saturday (April 8) - kick-off at the Beltane is at 2pm.