THREE Ayrshire clubs are looking forward to their next step on the road to Hampden after the draw for the second round of the Scottish Cup was made on Sunday – though all three will face tough tests against higher-ranked opposition if they’re to make it through to the next stage of the tournament.

West of Scotland Football League Premier Division champions Beith will play host to Broomhill in the second round, while managerless Cumnock will welcome Turriff United of the Highland League to Townhead Park.

The last Ayrshire side in the second round draw is Kilwinning Rangers, who will host Cowdenbeath of the Lowland League – a team who less than a decade ago were playing in the second tier of Scottish football.

Up for the cup

The win that booked the Buffs’ place in the second round draw was among the most eye-catching of all Saturday’s first round ties – not least because Chris Aitken’s men trailed 2-0 after less than half an hour against East of Scotland Premier League side Dundonald Bluebell.

But the manager’s brave move to make a double first-half substitution, with new signings Cammy MacNair and Adam Caldwell coming on to make their Buffs debuts, paid off in spades, with Jordan Stuart pulling one back with a fine left-foot volley before Dylan Mackin headed home a Mark Lamont corner to make it 2-2 at the interval.

And Lamont was again the provider for Buffs’ winning goal in the opening minute of the second half, as his free kick was headed home by Keiren Wood to earn the visitors a memorable victory and a place in round three for the second season running.

Beith, meanwhile, will fancy their chances in round two after securing their place with a 4-0 win away to Lossiemouth – making it an impressive 11 wins on the spin for Chris Strain’s side.

Having already seen off Carnoustie Panmure and Bonnyton Thistle in the tournament’s two preliminary rounds, The Mighty took a 1-0 lead into the interval at Grant Park thanks to Blair Rossiter’s strike, before Scot Rough, Ciaran Diver and Carlo Monti found the net in the second half.

The convincing win sets up a second round tie at home to a Broomhill side who booked their place with a 3-1 win over Cumbernauld Colts on Sunday – but who have already lost to North Ayrshire opposition this season after being knocked out of the South Challenge Cup by Irvine Meadow just last weekend.

Cumnock, meanwhile, may still be looking for a permanent manager after John Doyle’s surprise departure earlier this month, but the Townhead Park men put their disappointing league campaign so far behind them when they came from behind to beat Dunipace 3-1 at Westfield Park to book a place in round two for the second season in a row.

Dylan Tennant gave the home side the interval advantage with a shot that rebounded in off the back of Nock keeper Jamie Barclay after striking the post, only for Tam McGaughey to level just before the hour mark.

Neither team could conjure up a winner by the end of the regulation 90 minutes, but it was Cumnock who had the stronger legs in extra time, with McGaughey’s second putting the visitors in front for the first time before Jamie Conn sealed victory late on as Nock aim to reach round three for the first time.

All the tournament’s second round ties will be played on the weekend of Saturday, October 28.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Auchinleck Talbot’s poor start to the campaign continued after Tommy Sloan’s men were dumped out of the tournament by first round debutants St Andrews United, Owen Andrew’s 63rd-minute header proving just enough to earn the Fife team their place in the hat.

And there’ll be no repeat of Darvel’s 2022-23 giantkilling act this time round, with Bo’ness United easing to a comfortable 3-0 win over Tony McInally’s side at Newtown Park – a second cup exit in eight days for the East Ayrshire side, following their South Challenge Cup elimination by Gretna 2008 the previous week.

Ferry keeps Medda's ship on steady course

For those clubs not involved in the Scottish Cup, it was the bread-and-butter of league points on Saturday – and nowhere were the smiles bigger than on the face of new Irvine Meadow boss Martin Ferry, who now has two away wins on the spin under his belt after following up his team’s Challenge Cup win at Broomhill with a 2-1 victory over Glenafton at Loch Park.

Jordan Boyd’s goal gave Medda the interval advantage before Innes Lambert sealed the points two minutes from time, with Mick McMullin’s injury-time strike coming too little too late for the hosts.

At Barrfields, Largs Thistle moved level on points with Hurlford after a 3-1 win in the only other all-Ayrshire top flight clash on Saturday, with David Ramsay and Craig Forbes putting the hosts two ahead at the break and Will Sewell sealing the points after Ford pulled one back on the hour mark.

There was injury-time agony for Troon, who lost 2-1 at home to Arthurlie, with Dylan Fletcher’s winner for the Barrhead side coming inside added time at the end of the 90 minutes.

The contrasting fortunes of South Ayrshire’s two First Division clubs were laid bare at Ladywell as Carlo Monti’s impressive Maybole side climbed to fourth place in the table with a comfortable 4-1 win at home to a managerless – and still winless – Whitletts Vics, who remain marooned at the foot of the table.

Rovers battle back to extend their lead

The chase for a place in next season’s First Division is still being led by Gavin Friels’ Ardrossan Winton Rovers, who chalked up an eighth win in nine league games on Friday night, with Ryan Wilson and a David Craig double in the second half seeing Rovers come from behind to beat Craigmark 3-2 at Winton Park.

Winton are now five points clear at the top after Cumbernauld were held at home by St Anthony’s – while at the other end of the Second Division table, there was a much-needed win for Muirkirk, who climbed off the bottom of the table courtesy of a 3-0 win over Glasgow University at Burnside Park which leaves the students stuck at the foot of the standings.

The search for consistency goes on for Bonnyton Thistle after the Kilmarnock side were beaten 3-2 away to Caledonian Locomotives, with the home side scoring three times in the first half to give Alan Robertson’s men too much to do after the interval.

Dalry Thistle lead the Ayrshire charge in the Third Division after Jamie Gray’s fine hat-trick helped Chris Wilson’s men to a 4-1 home win over Kilsyth Athletic – while there were big smiles for another of the fourth tier’s North Ayrshire representatives after Ardeer Thistle made light of a red card for Ryan Singleton early in the second half away to Vale of Leven; Sean Kenney’s men led 2-1 at the time, but far from the sending-off putting them under pressure, the visitors dominated the rest of the game at Millburn Park, with David Donald and Stuart Morgan completing a 4-1 victory.

Irvine Vics, meanwhile, battled back from 2-0 down to draw level away to Finnart thanks to Alessandro Savarese and Mark Butler – but Butler’s afternoon soon turned sour when he was shown a red card, before Barry Peters nodded in the stoppage time winner to send Dougie MacDuff’s men home empty-handed.

Girvan stay stuck in mid-table after a 2-1 defeat at home to Glasgow United, while Kello Rovers are still on the lookout for their first league point of the campaign, their latest defeat coming by a 4-1 margin away to league leaders Bellshill.

David Gillies and Jackson Stevenson were the men on target for Lugar as the Jaggy Bunnets came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Carluke in the Fourth Division.

Goals from Connor McClure and Dean McLaughlin had Eglinton 2-1 up away to BSC Glasgow, only for the hosts to score twice in the last 15 minutes to leave the Kilwinning men empty-handed - while Saltcoats Vics’ search for a first league point goes on after defeat at home to a Thorn Athletic side who climb to second place in the table after a 6-2 win at Campbell Park.