PROVING their critics wrong was a huge motivation for Auchinleck Talbot boss Tommy Sloan when his side took on Lowland League cracks Kelty Hearts away in Friday night’s William Hill Scottish Cup First Round tie.

Talbot won 3-0 at New Central Park to set a home second round clash with Ladbrokes League Two table toppers Cove Rangers on Saturday, October 19.

Sloan said: “A lot of the critics were saying Kelty were favourites as they were a Lowland League team and we had to use that to our advantage.

“Some of the stuff we played at times was brilliant, we had a real quality and a cutting edge.That has to be our best performance of the season so far. We took our chances and deserved to win the game.”

The boss is expecting a tough test against the northerners next month and said: “We beat them in a replay (at home) last season but we expect it will be difficult. They have Paul Hartley as their manager and also have some senior players in their ranks. Obviously they’re doing well in their league but hopefully we can get through.”

Talbot host Bellshill Athletic in a Macron Scottish Junior Cup tie on Saturday and Sloan said: “It won’t be easy - they have really good forwards and I saw them beat Lanark United (their opponents in next month’s Sectional Cup Final) 3-0 on Saturday. But the cups is really important, it’s a home tie and hopefully we can get through.”

Meanwhile Sloan laughed off more fan speculation linking him with the Ayr United manager’s job after Ian McCall left to join Partick Thistle.

He said: “People always link me with Ayr United since I was a player there.

“Of course it’s flattering to be linked with Ayr, but I’m happy in this job and have work to do here.”