GLENAFTON Athletic supporters can now start dreaming about Scottish Cup matches taking place in New Cumnock.

Teams like Celtic and Rangers being drawn to face the Loch Park outift is now a distinct possibility after the Glens were granted full membership of the SFA.

The prospect is still some way from becoming a reality - with Glens set to enter the competition in the preliminary round in 2023-24 - but the news will certainly whet the appetite of supporters who recall the club's last venture into the senior Scottish Cup.

In 2017, Glens - by virtue of their league title and Scottish Junior Cup win earlier that year - enjoyed a run to the third round of the tournament before eventually falling to defeat against Livingston, then a Championship side, at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

The news comes just days after members of East Ayrshire Council's grants committee agreed to one-off funding support to enable Glens to improve the Loch Park playing surface - despite a recommendation from council officials that the club's grant application should be refused.

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The decision to grant Glens full membership, and the SFA licence that goes with it, was taken at the Scottish FA's annual general meeting at Hampden on Tuesday.

The club confirmed the news in a statement on their social media pages hours later.

It follows a series of upgrades to facilities at Loch Park, including the installation of floodlights which enabled the club to host midweek matches in the autumn and winter for the first time during the 2022-23 campaign.

Steven Kerr, the club's development officer, was presented with a certificate at the AGM in recognition of the club being granted membership of the SFA, having met entry level licensing requirements.

Achieving their club licence also opens up the prospect of progression for Glens through Scottish football's pyramid structure, with Ryan Stevenson's side now able to win promotion in the Lowland League and perhaps, one day, to the SPFL set-up - should they win the relevant leagues.

Glens' local rivals Cumnock and Auchinleck Talbot already have SFA licences, as do fellow East Ayrshire side Darvel.

Cumnock Chronicle: Loch Park, Glenafton Athletic

After being presented with the certificate, Steven Kerr commented: "Achieving our club licence has been a long process, and I would like to once again thank everyone who has assisted with our application.

"There is probably too many people to mention, but I would like to once again thank Keith Stewart from East Ayrshire Council for the help he has given with the application; it is greatly appreciated.

"Over the course of the last year, we have made massive improvements to the Loch Park infrastructure which will be of great benefit to the club and community going forward.

"Through grant funding we have been able to install 300 LUX LED floodlights, upgrade the Hunter Suite and Pavilion, build a disability shelter, and we also now have a medical room facility as well within the park."

A club spokesperson added: "We are sure our supporters will be delighted with this news, and we all look forward to seeing the Glens participate in the Scottish Cup once again."