UPBEAT Auchinleck Talbot manager Tommy Sloan admitted his team are firmly in title contention after they sent their fans into a festive frenzy with a fourth successive victory.

They defeated Kilbirnie Ladeside 5-2 at Beechwood Park to maintain their undefeaten run since losing 3-0 away to Arbroath in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

The reigning McBookie Premiership champions are now only 13 points behind leaders Kilwinning Rangers - whom they comprehensively defeated a fortnight ago, with seven games in hand.

Last season’s Macron Scottish Junior Cup winners have made it their mission to make up ground in the league, although midweek fixtures will come into play next year.

Sloan said: “That was an important win for us.

“Kilbirnie played quite well early on but we took control of the game and it was a goof performance which is great for the fans at Christmas.

The league is not quite as daunting challenge as I thought but we have to really keep working hard.

“We have a game away to Rob Roy on Saturday and are looking to take the three points.”

Meanwhile, Glenafton Athletic boss Craig McEwan had praise for Findlay Frye after his double helped them defeat derby rivals Cumnock 2-1 away.

He said: “Findlay scored a couple of really good goals.

“He’s a really under-rated player and has been excellent for us in recent weeks. Findlay works so hard.

“Our first half performance was the best of the season so far and I’m delighted.

“Cumnock are in transition but it’s great to have bragging rights over your rivals until we meet again.”

Glens on Saturday host a Kilwinning Rangers team still smarting from a 6-2 defeat away to Hurlford United.

McEwan said: “Kilwinning are the league leaders and are there on merit.

“They have a good team.

“We are all trying to catch them and hopefully we can take the three points.”