RANK outsiders Craigmark Burntonians have surprised many as they celebrated clinching promotion to the Championship - but not their manager Ian Patterson.

The unfancied Dalmellington side, who were quoted at 50-1 to go up at the start of the season took the step up to the second tier a week past on Monday, when Whitletts Victoria were held to a 2-2 draw by Dalry Thistle.

Now they can start making preparations for what should be a hugely exciting 2018-19 campaign.

Their achievements have sparked celebrations in the village as they finally sink in.

Patterson, who has completed his first full season in charge, said: “No one gave us much of a chance, the bookies were quoting odds of 50-1 right at the start of the season and some punters I hear backed us. But we are a good team and have done really well and it’s a great achievement for us to get promotion. I would say team spirit has been the key. The players have worked really hard.

“We have conceded very few goals at home throughout the season while the only team to beat us there was Ardrossan Winton Rovers.”

The boss is looking forward to the challenges and added: “It will be good to have an opportunity to compete at a higher level and the great thing is that there won’t be much travelling as most of the teams will be from Ayrshire. I think I will strengthen the squad and look to bring in a few new players.”