A TOUGH season for Glenafton Athletic took another downward turn on Saturday as the New Cumnock side were victims of the day’s only shock result in the West of Scotland Cup.

The Glens have struggled for consistency since Ryan Caddis became the third occupant of the managerial hot-seat this season at the end of November, and remain stuck in the Premier Division’s bottom three.

And now the battle for top flight survival will occupy the full attention of Caddis and his players for the rest of the campaign after Glens were dumped out at the quarter-final stage at home to First Division Shotts, with Harry Kent and Ben Richford scoring as the Lanarkshire side won 2-0 – the second time this season that Shotts have eliminated the Loch Park side from cup competition.

There were no surprises, though, a few miles up the road, as holders Auchinleck Talbot saw off East Ayrshire rivals Craigmark Burntonians by a 5-1 margin at Beechwood Park.

The Station Park side had knocked out two teams from higher divisions on their way to the last eight in the form of Rutherglen Glencairn and Irvine Meadow, but taking on the holders in their own back yard proved a step too far for the Second Division team, with Ross Smith and Jamie Glasgow setting Talbot on their way with two goals inside the first 20 minutes.

Kyle McAvoy ended the match as a contest with the third on the stroke of half-time, and Tarek Abed bundled home the fourth early in the second half before McAvoy’s second completed the scoring for the hosts, with Jordan Ryan’s late penalty all Ian Nixon's men had to show for their efforts.

An away tie against top flight opposition also proved to be just too much for Ardrossan Winton Rovers, though Gavin Friels’ men ensured Darvel didn't have things all their own way at Recreation Park, with Ryan Wilson’s eighth-minute strike demonstrating that the Second Division leaders weren’t just there to enjoy their day out against Tony McInally’s men - though Ross Barber and Stephen Bronsky had the Vale in front by the interval, before a third after the break secured a last eight tie away to Beith.

And the form book was adhered to in the last of the day’s four cup ties, with Ally Love scoring twice and Calum Watt also finding the net as Hurlford saw off Cumbernauld 3-1 in a tie that was switched to Renfrew’s New Western Park due to bad weather during the week; Darren Henderson’s men will now host Pollok in the last four.

Meanwhile, the chase for the Premier Division title took another intriguing twist on Saturday after Chris Strain’s Beith side were held at home by Pollok; Carlo Monti’s penalty gave the hosts the perfect start at Bellsdale, but Scott Forrester poked home the equaliser for a Lok side who came into the clash off the back of a 4-2 midweek win away to Darvel.

Largs Thistle extended their good recent run to one defeat in the last seven with a 4-2 victory over Gartcairn at Barrfields, with former Rangers man Darryl Duffy scoring twice and Will Sewell and Blair Devine also getting on the scoresheet for Stuart Davidson’s men.

Elsewhere, Troon secured a potentially priceless three points in the battle against the drop, with Rabin Omar and Dean Fulton the scorers in the Seasiders' 2-1 win away to fellow strugglers Arthurlie – a result that opens up a seven-point gap between Jimmy Kirkwood's men and the top flight drop zone.

But bottom dogs Irvine Meadow could only manage a point at home to Rob Roy, with Brendan Sharpe going from hero to villain in the space of a few minutes, opening the scoring for Ben Carson’s side late in the first half before being sent off for a second yellow shortly after the break, with the Rabs making the most of the man advantage to grab an equaliser after an hour.

In the First Division, Kilwinning Rangers’ promotion push suffered a blow after a 2-1 defeat at home to Ashfield, with sub Cammy MacNair’s strike 15 minutes from time not enough for Chris Aitken’s men after the visitors opened up a two-goal advantage.

Maybole Juniors’ dismal form continued at home to Drumchapel United, with the Glasgow side’s 4-0 victory at Ladywell meaning it’s now just one win in their last 15 league matches for Carlo Walker’s team, while Whitletts are now five points from safety with five games to play after a 1-1 draw away to fellow strugglers Cambuslang.

It wasn’t a great day for Ayrshire’s representatives in the third tier; with Ardrossan and Craigmark both in cup action, it was left to Muirkirk and Bonnyton Thistle to fly the Ayrshire flag on the day’s Second Division fixture list, but the Kirk lost 2-0 at home to Fort Wanderers while Gordon Pope’s Thistle side remain stuck in the relegation mire after a 3-1 defeat at Larkhall.

And the disappointing run of Ayrshire results continued in the Third Division, where all the local teams in action on Saturday lost by the odd goal in three; Greg Kean’s strike wasn’t enough to prevent Ardeer Thistle losing out to promotion-chasing Bellshill Athletic, while Irvine Vics lost ground on the teams at the top after defeat to Lesmahagow, and Girvan were beaten at Kilsyth Athletic, with all the goals in that game coming in the first half.

Dalry Thistle's game at home to Kello Rovers was postponed because of an unplayable pitch - or at least a small part of the pitch - at Merksworth Park, leaving Chris Wilson's men with 11 games to squeeze in between now and the season's end in mid-May.



In the Fourth Division, Lugar Boswell Thistle saw their hopes of climbing into the promotion places dashed after a 1-1 draw at home to Rossvale; Liam Miller gave the Jaggy Bunnets the lead eight minutes after the interval at Rosebank Park, only for Kevin Docherty to grab a last-gasp leveller to keep the visitors in third place, with Giffnock’s home win over Carluke seeing Lugar drop to fifth in the table.

Liam Davis, Graham Muir and a trialist found the net for Eglinton in a 3-1 win away to Easterhouse, while a grandstand finish from Saltcoats Vics wasn’t enough to prevent the Campbell Park side coming home empty-handed after a 4-3 defeat away to Knightswood.