MURDO MacKINNON has hit out at West of Scotland Football League bosses for the fixture scheduling that will leave Cumnock with just one match in the whole of April.

Nock went two weeks without a game in February, immediately before a 4-0 derby defeat against Auchinleck Talbot, and the Townhead Park side have another free day this weekend.

But with almost every other team in the Premier Division having games in hand on MacKinnon’s men and set to spend the rest of the season playing catch-up, Cumnock’s only competitive fixture next month is away to Rob Roy on April 20 -  before three games in eight days in early May to bring down the curtain on the campaign.

Speaking this week, MacKinnon said: “I think it’s shambolic, to be honest with you. It’s very, very poor scheduling.

“Half of the league has floodlighting, half the league has astroturf. Start scheduling midweek games under the lights.

“I know there’s other things to consider – clubs like us don’t want Wednesday games all the time, they want Saturdays to get more people through the gates, hospitality and all that sort of stuff.

“We’ve arranged a friendly for Saturday to try and keep a wee bit of momentum, but we’ll be sitting idle for the best part of three weeks. And it’s not just us.

"Clubs are having to pay players, they’re having to pay for training facilities – we are quite fortunate in the facilities we have, but other clubs aren’t, and the league needs to consider that.”

Cumnock responded to that derby day loss to Talbot by holding Largs Thistle to a 1-1 draw at Townhead Park on Saturday – Nock’s eighth draw of the campaign, more than any other club in the top flight – and while MacKinnon said he was pleased with how his players responded to that defeat at Beechwood Park, he admitted to some frustration that it wasn’t more.

“Not losing the game is important,” he said, “but if you can find the formula to turn those draws into wins your league position becomes really, really healthy.

“In the first half I thought we were really good, but we’ve had two great chances to add to that, and if we go 3-0 up the game’s dead.

“In the second half our performance wasn’t great, and I have to give special mention to Jamie Barclay, our goalkeeper, for some outstanding saves.”

With just six games left to play, Nock are well clear of the relegation zone but, barring an unlikely collapse by all of the five teams above them, won’t be competing for the title either.

But MacKinnon says his players’ determination to hit back from their loss to Talbot demonstrates the kind of attitude he wants to see in the closing stages of the campaign.

“We could have been miles better [against Largs],” he said, “but what we didn’t do is come out and capitulate and feel sorry for ourselves and say ‘we’re just going to see the season out’.

“I’m not suggesting any of our boys would do that – they wouldn’t, but I’ve made it clear that’ll not be happening.

“We’ll certainly have an input into a lot of decisions in our league, at both ends of the table.

“Last week I was bitterly disappointed in our performance. We didn’t do ourselves justice. But it was really important not to dwell on it too much, to come back out and start fighting our corner again.

“We want people fighting to the end and being competitive to the end.”