CUMNOCK knocked neighbours Glenafton out of the Ayrshire Weekly Press Cup at Loch Park.

It was a tight game decided by a solitary Paul Burns goal but, in a cup match, the object is always to get to the next round.

Winning manager Peter Leonard said: “This stage of the season is always hard. You get bumpy pitches and players out injured.

“Also coming here after having won the two league matches against Glenafton could mean that it could turn round and bite you.

“But to be brutally honest, that’s three clean sheets in the last four games — only losing one goal against Hurlford — which means the fight and communication is back among the players.

“We are getting more difficult to beat these days and, considering Montgomerie, Hunter, Samson and Hilton were missing, I was delighted to get that result.”

Kilbirnie Ladeside are the opponents at Townhead Park in the quarter-finals, but Leonard is not looking that far ahead.

He said: “The boys are working hard. We are safe in the league and we can relax a wee bit more. We will just keep playing away and seeing how far it takes us.

“Glenafton are a good team with a lot of big players but I thought we defended well and I was pleased with the performance.”

Nock’s victory was very much a team performance, although the more experienced players in the squad stood out.

Scott Anson proved to be a handful at both ends of the park while captain Paul Burns sprays killer passes around the park without breaking sweat.

The skipper said: “When you miss a penalty, there is always that worry that it will come back to haunt you but we managed to push on in the second half.

“I thought we created the better chances and, although they came back into it in the last five minutes, our back four were immense and held out.

“It’s testament to them that we are keeping so many clean sheets while we have found a wee bit of form and hopefully that can continue.”

Despite his excellent finish, Burns gave the credit to team-mate Scott Anson whose determination and power led to the game’s only goal.

He added: “It was a great pass, Scott laid it on a plate for me and I couldn’t really miss.”