Murdo MacKinnon admitted he was “really proud” of his players after nine-man Nock held leaders Clydebank to a draw on Saturday.

Jamie Wilson’s long-range scissor kick with just five minutes on the clock gave Cumnock the interval advantage at Townhead Park – but Bankies turned up the heat after the break and Ciaran Mulcahy’s header levelled the tie midway through the second half.

And within moments of the leveller the hosts’ task was made even tougher when Wilson was ordered off by referee Ross Menzies.

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A feisty clash blew up in the closing stages as Nock hit the woodwork before being awarded an 88th-minute penalty – only for skipper Findlay Frye to see his effort blocked by Bankies keeper Jamie Donnelly.

Sub Andy McLaughlin became the second Nock player to see red in the dying moments as MacKinnon’s men held out to make it three draws on the spin.

Cumnock Chronicle: Cumnock's players celebrate Jamie Wilson's early openerCumnock's players celebrate Jamie Wilson's early opener (Image: Newsquest)

Speaking to the Chronicle after the match, MacKinnon admitted he had doubts about both red cards – and the penalty.

“I don’t feel either’s a sending off, to be honest,” the Nock manager said.

“I thought in the first half we controlled the game really well. I knew they were going to come out at us in the second half, and they did – and the turning point is the first sending-off, it puts us under real pressure.

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“I think it was dubious. I don’t think he makes any contact whatsoever. I think it’s a really poor decision.

“We then got a snap of luck with the penalty kick, but I have to be honest, it’s never a penalty. Never.

“But that’s just football, and the goalkeeper’s made a good save, and we need to get on with that.

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“But we then get another man sent off. It’s probably a foul. Could [the referee] book him? Yes, just to settle the game. But sending him off? Honestly, it’s astounding.”

The point sees Cumnock drop to seventh in the Premier Division standings, falling behind a Pollok side who won 3-1 at Largs in one of only three top flight games to beat the weather.

Cumnock Chronicle: Jamie Wilson trudges off after being shown a red card by referee Ross MenziesJamie Wilson trudges off after being shown a red card by referee Ross Menzies (Image: Newsquest)

But despite dropping a place, MacKinnon said he was delighted with the effort put in by his players.

“We were a threat on the break,” he said, “and it was important for us that we kept that threat. I’m really proud of the boys, and how they went about their business and how disciplined they were.

“They ran their legs off and they gave everything against a team who will go and challenge for the title. There’s no doubt about that.

Cumnock Chronicle: The challenge that earned Cumnock substitute Andrew McLaughlin a late red cardThe challenge that earned Cumnock substitute Andrew McLaughlin a late red card (Image: Newsquest)

“But we’re in the early stages here and I’m happy with how things are progressing, and I’m really proud of the boys and the effort they put in today.”

Saturday’s only other Premier Division fixture saw Darvel win 3-0 away to Benburb, with Auchinleck Talbot’s game at home to Beith and Glenafton’s match against St Cadoc’s at Loch Park both called off on Friday night.

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Next up for Nock is a trip to league leaders Beith on January 27, while Glenafton travel to Gartcairn and Talbot are away to Irvine Meadow.

The only other East Ayrshire sides to see their fixtures beat the weather on Saturday were both in the Second Division, where Craigmark lost 4-2 away to Yoker, with Reece Wilson and an own goal the Mark's scorers, and Bonnyton Thistle were beaten 3-0 at home by leaders Ardrossan Winton Rovers.