CUMNOCK manager Brian McGinty hailed the “exceptional” effort of his players after watching them battle hard to pick up only their second Premier Division win in 10 matches.

First half goals from Findlay Frye and Jamie Wilson had Nock in control against Clydebank at Holm Park on Wednesday night.

And though the hosts turned up the heat in the second half on a bitterly cold evening, and pulled one back from the penalty spot late on, McGinty’s men survived eight minutes of stoppage time to see out a 2-1 win – their first league victory on the road since Kirkintilloch Rob Roy were beaten by the same score way back at the end of October.

The result was the ideal pick-me-up for Cumnock after Saturday’s South Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Sauchie Juniors – and sets the Townhead Park side up ideally for this Saturday’s league derby at home to Auchinleck Talbot, whose own game at home to leaders Beith on Wednesday night was beaten by the big freeze.

Speaking to Cumnock’s media team after the match, McGinty said: “I thought the boys were different class.

“We asked the boys to play in a different shape tonight. We showed a lot of respect to Clydebank but I thought we were worth our victory.

"In the second half the effort and the work they put in to close Clydebank down and stop giving them space was just exceptional.

“It’s only one game – we’re not out of the bad run, we need to go and back it up on Saturday. But for tonight, every one of the players, what a shift they put in.”

Frye’s well-taken finish from the edge of the box gave Cumnock the lead in the 11th minute – and midway through the half there was bedlam as the visitors were awarded two penalty kicks in quick succession.

Jamie Wilson’s first effort was parried by Clydebank keeper Jamie Donnelly – but in the stramash that followed, Ikechi Eze gave away a second spot-kick, and this time Wilson made no mistake.

Bankies boss Gordon Moffat made three changes at half-time in a bid to turn the game in his team's favour, but Cumnock dug deep with some stout defending in the second 45 to keep their lead intact.

And the visitors could have made the points secure with their third penalty of the night on 77 minutes, only for Donnelly to deny Wilson for a second time.

And though Clydebank set up a nervy finale when they pulled one back with a penalty of their own, Nicky Little converting on 88 minutes, Cumnock held on through the eight minutes of added time for a win that moves them up to eighth in the Premier Division table.

Next up for Cumnock, it’s the first of two league derbies against title-chasing Auchinleck in the space of a month, with Nock at home in the first of the two big clashes this Saturday, March 11 – and McGinty admitted that Wednesday’s win gives him something of a selection dilemma ahead of the game.

“Talbot called their game off, so they’ll be a bit fresher than us on Saturday,” he admitted.

“It gives us a selection dilemma. The boys were great tonight, but we’ll go and pick a team to beat Talbot.

“It’s not about [whether] we keep the same team or we don’t keep the same team. We picked a team tonight to beat Clydebank, and we’ll go and try and do the same on Saturday.”

Kick-off at Townhead Park on Saturday is at 2pm.

Watch the highlights from Wednesday's match, and Brian McGinty's full post-match interview, on the Cumnock Juniors channel on YouTube.