KILWINNING Rangers boss Chris Aitken did not hold back his criticisms after his side succumbed to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Kilbirnie Ladeside.

The loss left the Buffs' slim hopes of a push for promotion back to the West of Scotland Football League's top flight hanging by a thread - with Aitken branding the season as "failed".

The Buffs had lead early in the match through skipper Ben Lewis however goals in the last 20 minutes from Chris Black and Alan Frizzel flipped the tie in favour of Colin Spence's side in spite of a late red card for Danny Bamford.

The result leaves Aitken's side in fourth position and out of the current promotion places - and with sides below having games in hand, promotion now seems all but impossible.

It's the fifth time since the turn of the year that Buffs have been beaten on home turf, and their seventh loss of 2024 in all competitions.

The defeat led to a passionate and scathing analysis when Aitken spoke to Kilwinning Rangers TV (KRTV) following the match.

He told the media team: “I’m very hurt. We’ve failed, no doubt about it. I will take every criticism that comes my way and rightly so.

“I’ve failed this club. Probably not getting out of this league is not acceptable, and I take full responsibility.

“It’s very sore and this is going to take a wee bit of time to get over – I’m lost for words.”

The former East Kilbride manager, whose playing career included spells at Ayr United, Stranraer and Stirling Albion, said he felt a sense of 'deja vu' while watching his team throw away their interval advantage on Saturday.

“We started brightly, got the goal, and went 1-0 up," he told KRTV, "but we are very weak and very vulnerable when we score a goal, and it shouldn’t be like that.

“I ask my guys to go out and express themselves and do the right things but they do the total opposite.

“We went one up and we just sat off the game. The amount of times the ball went out the park was embarrassing.

“It’s very hard to take, because we knew what was at stake. I hope my players are hurting as much as I am.”

Aitken now says an important week lies ahead for the club as they get set for to another season in the second tier.

“There will be a few big meetings at this club and we’ll see who wants to ride this wave with us, he commented to KRTV. 

"We’ll find that out this week.

“I heard the fans not happy and rightly so. I hope I get given the time to try and turn this about.

"I’ve loved every minute of being here, but I know football’s about winning, and I’ve failed Kilwinning.

“There’s no getting away from that. I’ve failed the supporters. I’ve let them down.

“I thought I had a good enough team to get out this league, and it’s been proven that I am way short – and I mean way short.”

The Buffs Park boss has said big changes will be coming ahead of the 2024/25 season.

He told KRTV: “I want the season over. I want to get to the summer and I want to get my guys who want to be by my side.

“There will be big stuff happening if, and hopefully, the fans and club stick by me and I can get the good times back again.

“I’ve spoken to six or seven players. We will find out this week if they want to be with Kilwinning.

“If they don’t there will be no hard feelings, but they will be moving on, and they’ll be moving on before the end of the season.

“We’ll find out next week with the six or seven I want to keep, and we’ll see if they want to come and get this club back where it should be.”

Watch the full post-match interviews with Aitken and captain Ben Lewis at the KRTV channel on YouTube.