GAVIN FRIELS has praised his Ardrossan Winton Rovers players for digging deep to get their promotion quest back on track.

Winton ground out a 2-1 win away to St Anthony's on Saturday to banish memories of the defeat to Cumbernauld that ended their long unbeaten run.

Friels' men were given an extra week to mull over that Cumbernauld defeat after their West of Scotland Cup tie away to Premier Division title challengers Darvel fell victim to the weather. 

But Winton responded perfectly against St Anthony's, with goals from Aidan Ferris and Alex Dean, either side of a Mark McKillop strike, getting Rovers back to winning ways after a challenging match in testing conditions.

Friels said: “I thought we played well considering we had five or six unwell. We had a wee 'man flu' bug going through the team.

“It led to a different selection process to what we’d have normally, but it was a strong team we had on the park.

“The pitch was big and bobbly, and they wasted time from the word go, but when we were on it I thought we were playing well.

“We had umpteen chances and never stuck them away. I think we were a wee bit tentative trying to come back from the Cumbernauld defeat after not playing in two weeks.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Ardrossan Winton Rovers bounced back from defeat last time out to pick up three points against St

The win keeps Winton 11 points clear at the top of the Second Division, and with only seven games left to play, promotion is well within their sights.

Eleven points from the 21 still up for grabs would be enough to secure promotion and a place in the second tier next season. 

The Winton boss continued: “It plays on your mind once you get up to 12. The defeat was a sore one.

“They’ve reacted well. It wasn’t as pretty as we’ve been, but it was still a solid performance. It’s a hard place to go.”

Friels is now fully focussed on the job at hand as the finishing line has started coming into sight.

"We’re getting close now," he added.

"It’s important that when we’re on the hard pitches away, we just try and get the win. We can try and play a bit more attractive at home.

“Maryhill away next week is a big game for us. It’s a hard place to go again.

“It’s all just about getting points on the board just now.”

And while the Winton boss is still looking to take it one game at a time, Friels says he knows exactly what is required of his squad.

He commented: “We need four wins for promotion, based on everyone winning all their games. But we’re just focussing on beating Maryhill.

“We’ve got seven games left and we’re just going to try and win the seven of them.

“We win six then you win the league, and nobody can do anything about it.

“We’ve got ourselves in a good position, we just need to deal with it.”