A miserable season for Central First Division outfit Lesmahagow was further compounded on Saturday when team boss Billy McDonald tendered his resignation following a 4-1 league defeat at the hands of relegation battling St Anthony's.

The prospect of their losing run coming to a halt had looked promising going into the interval at McKenna Park with the Gow 1-0 to the good through a well-taken goal from Darren Ferguson, son of former Rangers midfielder Derek.

However, a dismal second 45 minutes brought goals from Ants quartet Paul Gordon (pen), Graeme Crawford, Billy Stevenston and Kyle Brown that boosted the Govan club’s hopes of avoiding the drop while plunging two points better off Lesmahagow into a basement dogfight.

The Lanarkshire’ side’s latest insipid display - they have picked up just seven points from McDonald’s ten games at the helm - proved the last straw for the former Partick Thistle midfielder.

And he shocked players and club officials alike by announcing his quit decision in the dressing room afterwards.

The 38-year-old admitted: "Winning football games is the be all and end all for me wherever I’ve been in football and I found myself getting more and more frustrated at failing to get players to show that same type of commitment.

“That’s in no way meant to be critical as the guys bought into many of my ideas and attempts to instil professional habits such as sitting down to a bowl of soup and a sandwich after training sessions rather than eating fast food on the way home

“Ability wise and as characters, they are a fantastic and I truly believe there is nothing more than a cigarette paper between them and so many other First Division teams, but a lack of consistency has been our problem.

"And I have to show a degree of honesty and admit that what I was bringing to the table has not been able to get them playing to the best of their abilities.

“It’s just not been happening results-wise so it's best that I stand aside and let someone else come in to try and make a better fist of preserving Lesmahagow’s status as a First Division club.

“Our current position is precarious, but nowhere near irredeemable if a new man can get the players to show a greater desire as well as a bit more belief in themselves."

Gow officials have wasted no time in appointing erstwhile team manager Robert Irving to step into the breach until the end of season and he took charge of the reins last night for the Craghead Park encounter with near neighbours Larkhall Thistle.

Before kick-off, Irving said: "We have eight league games remaining and need to stop the rot by putting a few wins on the board sooner rather than later.

“Three of those games are to be played this week with a trip to Neilston on Wednesday followed by Dunipace coming here on Saturday and I don’t believe we can afford to lose all three and expect to stay up.”

Meanwhile, put in the weekend shade by the ETHXenergy Scottish Junior Cup semi-final clash of Pollok and Hurlford United were a couple of New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup encounters that went by the form book and has kept alive the possibility of a last four head to head of fierce derby rivals Cumnock and Auchinleck Talbot.

The Nock, mainly thanks to a Paul Burns hat-trick, triumphed over Super Premier bottom markers Irvine Meadow, who were three times ahead but eventually lost 4-3 at the same time as Auchinleck dished out a 5-0 hammering to Cambuslang Rangers with David Gillies(2), Gordon Pope, Dwayne Hyslop and Bryan Young on target.

Next up for Cumnock is a last-eight meeting this Saturday against Kilwinning Rangers, whom they also face on Wednesday.

The prize for the winners is a home semi-final against whoever comes out on top from Talbot hosting the visit of Clydebank.