CUMNOCK have scored almost 24 goals in five matches since Peter Leonard took over as manager.

They have netted 16 in three competitive games as well as eight in two friendlies The new boss could not have had a tougher start, an away match at Talbot, which was very much a baptism of fire.

Speaking after the 9-1 rout of Glasgow Perthshire in the West of Scotland Cup, he said: “We had a few players missing as well, but I thought the boys gave a good account of themselves that day.

“From an original squad of 19 we have lost TJ Shirkie who left to play amateur football and we just found out in the last couple of days that Cambuslang are needing loan signing, Craig Hastings, back.

“We have made a couple of changes and are still getting to know the players although, three or four weeks in, we are beginning to get a better idea of who does what.

“But their attitude and application in training has been A1, so we can’t fault them for the effort they are putting in. Today at half-time they could have taken their foot off the gas but they played the full 90 minutes and were still full of running at the end.

“To score nine, with two missed penalties into the bargain, is no mean feat against any side.”

Hitting the net on a regular basis breeds confidence but the gaffer emphasises that many challenges await the team.

“We are not kidding ourselves and know it will be a tough one against Kilwinning on Saturday which is the first of a few good fixtures at home.

“Bathgate are coming here in the Scottish Cup and we had them watched today and four big league games — Girvan, Arthurlie, Hurlford and Kilbirnie.

“Based on what I saw today, they are games which are winnable for us. Not getting carried away but I am delighted with the progress so far,” he said.

Leonard also praised his backroom staff, Chris Flanagan and Gerry Phillips, who is returning to the ground where he was a fans’ favourite as a player.

The former Ayr United and Hamilton Accies forward said: “It’s back to where I started a long, long time ago. I signed here when I was 17 which is 44 years ago.

“I played on three different occasions for Cumnock and during my last spell with the club we won the Scottish Cup, in 1989.

“So it’s good to be back. My mum and dad still live in Cumnock so it is very much a return to my old stomping ground.

“It is obviously a new beginning for the club and we have got some good players here who are desperate to get on with it.

“I have worked with Peter before at Girvan and have just retired as a PE teacher so I have time on my hands to work here again.”

Saturday’s visit of Kilwinning Rangers will provide a stern test for the new management team.

Buffs have started off the season on a high, albeit they lost in a derby thriller at the weekend, Irvine Meadow winning 3-2 at Abbey Park.

Cumnock beat Buffs 4-1 at home last season, and drew 1-1 at Kilwinning.