BEING eliminated from the final cup competition of the season in front of their own fans wasn’t what Kilsyth Rangers had planned for Saturday afternoon.
The Duncansfield side were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Ashfield after having their keeper sent off just after half-time.
However, assistant boss Martin Mooney says the disappointment of dropping out of the Central League Cup will allow them to focus their attention solely on the push for promotion.
He said: “Getting the goalkeeper sent off was a blow but even at that, in the first half we didn’t play that well but it wasn’t like they were bombarding our goal.
“The wind played a big part – it wasn’t gale force but we just couldn’t get the ball out. It spoiled the match a bit.”
Rangers’ keeper Dukes was sent for an early bath after 55 minutes when he pulled an Ashfield player back in the box to stop him finding the net.
Asked whether he feels the award of a penalty and a sending off is too harsh in such a situation, Mooney was undecided.
He continued: “I think it depends on the situation. On Saturday, the boy was away and it was a tap in. But the fact you’re getting punished twice in terms of a man sent off and a penalty can feel a bit heavy.”
He added: “It was upsetting, we’ve gone so long without defeat at home and then to be knocked out of the cup there.
“But when you look at it, if we had gone through we’d have another mid-week game to deal with so, although we wanted to stay in, it wasn’t a major disappointment, it’ll let us focus on the league, nothing else.”
Kilsyth now have two tricky away games in a row to negotiate – Port Glasgow at Battery Park on Saturday and Dunipace at Westfield Park next Wednesday evening.
Mooney added: “It looks like we’re going to be playing weekend and mid-week until the end of the season now. It’s runs like this that really test the players and the squad.
“Mid-week kick-offs will be half six, so it might be a case of having to pick players that can get there from work in time for the start.
“St. Anthony’s went out of the cup as well so they’re in the same situation as us. It’s going to be tough, but at this point in the season the players just want to play games.”