AUCHINLECK assistant boss Allan McLuckie says Talbot's players will learn from their experience after climbing from bottom of the table to second place in the final standings.

Connor Boyd's strike earned Auchinleck a 1-0 victory at Benburb on Saturday - their 17th win of the season, with the clean sheet meaning the Beechwood Park outfit closed out the season with the league's best defensive record.

In the final standings Talbot finished five points behind champions Beith - but that doesn't tell the story of a campaign which had seen Tommy Sloan's men written off by many observers just a few weeks into the season.

Talbot were propping up the table after eight matches, with speculation mounting of a relegation struggle after defeats at the hands of Pollok, Darvel, Beith, Clydebank and St Cadoc's before the end of August.

But Sloan's men have proved countless times over the years that they should never be written off - and a stunning turnaround in fortunes catapulted them right back into contention in the closing weeks, with a late-season fixture pile-up eventually proving their undoing.

Cumnock Chronicle: Auchinleck Talbot rounded off their season with another win on Saturday.Credit: Craig McGhee

Despite that shaky start, compounded by early exits from the senior Scottish Cup and the South Challenge Cup at the hands of St Andrews United and Broxburn respectively, McLuckie says he hopes this will just be the start for Talbot's reshaped squad.

Speaking to Talbot's media team after Saturday's match, McLuckie said: “Where we were in November-December, if you were to say we would finish second, people would be saying it would be rather difficult.

“The senior Scottish Cup probably came a bit early for us. It took us a wee bit longer to knit than we thought.

“We’ve got the majority of the players signed up and we’ve been speaking to one or two.

“We’ve got the nucleus of a good squad there. We’ll learn from where we’ve been this year and hopefully we’ll kick on next year.”

The assistant manager also took time to pay homage to those off the park who contributed to keeping the Talbot ship on course.

"We turn up here, doing something we love, we’ve got the easy job," he said.

“The guys who actually make this work are the committee. They turn up, get sponsorship in, and the pitch is always like a bowling green.

“We need to say a big thank you to them, and, of course, to the supporters.”