Rutherglen Glencairn sighed with relief after claiming their first win since mid-September with a hard-fought 3-2 triumph over Super First Division strugglers Shettleston on Saturday.

Yet, if the Greenfield Park outcome could be considered predictable, the manner of it certainly wasn’t as a battling Town twice recovered from falling a goal behind and looked set to be rewarded with a share of the spoils until being floored by a wonder free-kick from their former striker Gary Smith.

Glens assistant manager Joe Price admitted: “The result was undoubtedly better than our performance but Gary’s goal – and the one scored by Jay Mackay to put us 2-1 up –were out-of-this-world strikes worthy of winning any game.

“A bumpy and bobbly playing surface contributed to the guys playing well below their capabilities but you cannot hold that reason up for the defensive errors which have yet again left us needing to score three goals to come out on top.

“It’s no exaggeration to say glaring mistakes at the back have been the story of our season up to now and we simply cannot hope to push ourselves into the promotion reckoning unless we tighten things up.”

Price was spot on with his summations of a game which saw the visitors make a fortuitous start with a goal inside three minutes from Jordan Heyden whose 15-yard shot was looking set to miss the target until taking a huge deflection of Town defender Lee Martin’s back and looping past goalkeeper Gary Whyte.

Shortly afterwards the scores were tied following a terrific blocking save by Glens No 1 Jack Baker that denied Mastt Laczi at the expense of a corner kick which was in mid-air when referee Craig King spotted Alex Grier’s arms wrapped around Town striker Paul Hewitt and awarded a spot kick.

Rikky McIntosh made an expert job of despatching the ball beyond Baker for 1-1 and the rest of the opening half was played out devoid of goalmouth thrills until the burly shotstopper dived full length to keep out a netbound Hewitt effort approaching the break.

Glencairn’s principal thrust was coming from Jay Mackay, who despite being hampered by a first-half injury was posing a threat to the home side’s backline so it was no real surprise when he took advantage of a break of the ball to fire the Glens 2-1 ahead in 63 minutes with a stunning volley from just inside the penalty box that left Whyte grasping thin air.

His goal saw the diminutive front man finally give way to his ankle injury and signalled his efforts for the day were at an end and Liam Gormley duly came on as replacement while Mackay limped off to raucous applause from the Glens fans.

Shettleston might have levelled when an unmarked Craig Johnston headed wastefully over, but their reward finally arrived through a blunder by Glens debutant Ryan Kerr which was pounced upon by Hewitt and he ran through to net with a well taken finish.

Shettleston’s celebrations were short lived as within minutes they conceded a free kick some 25 yards out and dead ball expert Smith sublimely curled the ball into the corner for 3-2.

Also deep in the relegation mire are Larkhall Thistle, beaten 3-0 at home by high-flying Renfrew with Scott Morton (2) and Kieron Maxwell on target while Irvine Meadow were on the back of a dismal 1-0 reverse at home to Kello Rovers.

Table-toppers Petershill, unbeaten and six points clear of nearest rivals Renfrew, had an Alex Cassells penalty, a Chris Reid own goal, and Jordan Murch strike to thank for a convincing 3-1 victory away to Kilsyth Rangers whose consolation score was notched by Gary Kelly.

Other strong title contenders Troon put Cambuslang Rangers to the sword in a five goal Portland Park thriller.

Meanwhile it was a good day for Ayrshire clubs in the Super Premier Division where Beith remain top following a 3-0 win at home to Hurlford United thanks to a Thomas Collins hat-trick.

Ryan Nisbet, Findlay Frye and Bryan Boylan were on target as Kilwinning Rangers moved into second place with a 3-1 defeat of Cumnock and Kilbirnie Ladeside are third following a 1-1 draw.

The second meeting of the season between Auchinleck Talbot and Rob Roy was over as a contest before the hour mark after a Jamie Glasgow treble and Graeme Wilson score had Talbot in control.