CUMNOCK are on the lookout for a new team manager after parting ways with former player John McKeown in the wake of Saturday’s 6-0 mauling at home to Beith.

The manner of his side’s latest defeat – Cumnock’s fifth in six league starts this season which leaves them sitting rank bottom of the Super Premier Division standings – sparked an after-match meeting between McKeown and club officials at which it was unanimously agreed that he would resign his Townhead Park post with immediate effect.

Last night the seasoned gaffer revealed: “Nobody has been more disappointed with our results than myself so I went into that meeting looking for radical changes to be made.

“I’m not any wet behind the ears novice and either major investment for the team had to be found or I had to fall on my sword and make way for a new man to come in with a fresh approach and try to get more out of the same group of players.

“The preference of those around the table was for the latter option so my time at the helm is now over, however I firmly believe Cumnock are in a far better place in a playing sense than they were when I took over three years ago.

“Back then single figure numbers were our lot at training sessions but nowadays it is a rarity for us not to have a full house barring injuries and I cannot speak highly enough about the commitment shown by our current playing squad which also flies in the face of suggestions I had lost the dressing room.

“Nothing could be further from the truth even if there will always be players feeling unhappy if they are not getting a regular jersey.”

Asked if, on hindsight, he should have rang the changes with his Cumnock squad that finished sixth top of the Super Premier pile last time out and were beaten finalists in both the Ayrshire Cup and New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup prompted the quiet spoken McKeown to retort: “Any perceived lack of new faces is certainly not for the lack of trying because I can recall nights where I have spent hours on the telephone enquiring after prospective signings but all to no avail.

“The additions we did make have not all worked out as hoped but my biggest regret is the fact my assistant Martin Devlin is now without a club as he is a wonderful coach who has worked his socks off here at Cumnock and you won’t find any of our players with a bad word to say about his training drills.

“The two of us will now revert to spectator roles but hopefully the opportunity comes our way to get back in the Junior game before too long.”

Speculation is already rife over McKeown’s probable replacement with ex-Rossvale and East Kilbride Lowland League manager Martin Lauchlan being mentioned in despatches along with current Hurlford United boss Darren Henderson and long-serving Larkhall Thistle gaffer Dunky Sinclair (both former Nock players).

However, emerging as a strong contender is the knowledgeable Peter Leonard of top-flight rivals Girvan which is not altogether unsurprising given that his No.2 is one-time Cumnock fans favourite Gerry Phillips who played in their 1989 Scottish Junior Cup-winning side.

One also hears on the comings and goings front of Pollok revealing their willingness to listen to offers for experienced central defender Ross McCabe whose previous clubs include Petershill and Hamilton Accies.

The versatile 29-year-old – he can also operate at full-back – has found starting appearances few and far between this season and the recent addition of Queen's Park loan signing Bryan Wharton has dropped him further down the pecking order.

Lok boss Tony McInally admitted: “Ross is a wonderful professional and a great guy to have around the place but I don’t think it fair or proper for a player of his abilities to be sitting on the sidelines more weeks than not.

“Better for him to be playing regularly elsewhere and we as a club will try to maker that happen.”


Wednesday, October 11: Republic of Ireland v Isle of Man (Somervell Park, 2.30pm), Scotland v Northern Ireland (McKenna Park, 2.30pm).

Thursday, October 12: Isle of Man v Northern Ireland (New Tinto Park, 7pm), Scotland v Republic of Ireland (New Western Park, 7pm).

Saturday, October 14: Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland (McKenna Park, 2.30pm), Scotland v Isle of Man (Newlandsfield, 2.30pm).