FOUR goals and a fourth Junior Cup draw on the spin wasn’t enough to stop Muirkirk being eliminated from the showpiece tournament.

Girvan reached the fourth round with the aid of a 6-5 penalty shootout win at Hamilton Park to end Kirk’s longest run in the competition for 20 years.

Manager Kevin Muirhead revealed after the match the feeling within his squad.

Speaking to the Chronicle yesterday (Tuesday), he said: “This is the furthest Muirkirk have made it in the Junior Cup for 20 years. The draw is this afternoon and we’ll all be watching it thinking how gutted we are that we aren’t in the hat. We’ve done well to be unbeaten but that’s football, one penalty save and you’re out.

“I felt we dominated the game, it was pretty similar to the first game. We lost a couple of unfortunate goals, an own goal and a bizarre deflection in the last minute. We won the lottery against Yoker in the last round but we lost it on Saturday.”

Kirk’s four matches in the competition featured 22 goals – an average of 5.5 a game – as they went toe-to-toe with teams in higher divisions.

Next up is a trip to the only side in the West Region yet to pick up a point as they face a West of Scotland Cup tie against another side in a higher division – Championship basement boys Larkhall Thistle.

Muirhead added: “I’ve said before, we always seem to raise our game against teams in higher leagues. Girvan are two divisions above us, Yoker are the division above and even Cumnock right back at the start of the season. We need to go and take this confidence from playing well against better teams into the league games.

“We have another big game against Larkhall on Saturday in the West. Larkhall are 30 teams above us in league standings so it will be a tough game but we will try and take confidence from the Girvan matches into that game.

“We need to kick on in the league now. We have four games in hand and if we win them all, it takes us right back into the promotion stakes. After Larkhall, we have a double header against Saltcoats.

“With the greatest of respect to Saltcoats, they are struggling at the moment. These two games could give us a platform to go and move up in the league but because of how inconsistent we have been this season, Saltcoats will be looking at it the same way.”