A POTENTIALLY season-defining week lies ahead for Tommy Sloan's Auchinleck Talbot side.

It comes off the back of a terrific weekend for the East Ayrshire giants who earned their place in the semi-finals of the West of Scotland Football League (WoSFL) Cup.

Talbot won the tournament last year, beating Clydebank 2-0 in the final at Meadow Park, and moved a step closer to back-to-back triumphs after a dominant 5-1 win over Craigmark Burntonians in the last eight on Saturday.

Sloan made a number of changes from the previous week's league win over Hurlford, with only five players from that match holding their spot in the starting 11.

But the team changes made little difference to the level of performance as the home side proved too hot for their lower league opposition to handle.

Speaking to the club's social media team after the game, Talbot assistant Allan McLuckie was delighted with the result.

He commented: “We played some good football, particularly in the first half, and pretty much dominated the full game.

“We had plenty of possession, plenty of opportunities, it possibly could have been a few more in the first half.

“We were disappointed to lose a goal at the end with what looked like a soft penalty, but we’ll take it – we’re into the next round.

“The boys that came in all did well. It shows the depth of the squad when we bring half a dozen guys in and we still rattle in five goals.”

And that depth is something Talbot may well have to call upon this week as they face three huge league matches in the space of eight days.

That depth is something Talbot may well have to call upon in in the rest of the month, with three huge Premier Division matches falling within the space of eight days.

The first of those is against high-flying St Cadoc's at New Tinto Park this Saturday, March 23, before a midweek trip to Darvel on March 27 and a home game against defending champions Beith on March 30.

Talbot lost to all three teams in the first four weeks of the season as Sloan's side made a slow start to the campaign following a summer restructure of their squad. 

But since being beaten by Beith way back on August 26, the Beechwood men have lost just once in 12 Premier Division matches, as well as setting out on runs to the last four of both the West of Scotland Cup and the Scottish Junior Cup.

And with Beith - who are currently five points ahead of Sloan's men in the standings - not due to play any other league matches before the big game at Beechwood Park on Easter weekend, the opportunity is there for Talbot to overtake the reigning champions.

McLuckie told Talbot's media team: “It’s going to be a tough week. We’re playing the top three teams in the league. We know we’re going to have to be positive in every game.

“It’s going to be a difficult ask but hopefully we can manage through that.

“It would be great to take maximum points. It’s going to be a big ask but we’ll give it our best.”

Watch McLuckie's post-match interview in full, along with highlights from Saturday's cup win, at the 'Auchinleck Talbot' channel on YouTube.