TIMING is everything for Beith defensive stalwart Kevin McDonald.

The 34-year-old has made a career of last-ditch tackles so he will be delighted to receive acclaim for serving up an outstanding performance on his return to the Mighty starting line-up in last weekend’s battling 1-1 draw with Super Premier Division title rivals Kilbirnie Ladeside.

Illness ruling out Mark McLaughlin provided McDonald with the opportunity to shine against one of his former clubs and he certainly made the most of it as he and his team-mates fought a stoic rearguard action to earn a share of the spoils despite having to see out the game with only nine men following the dismissals of Nicky Docherty and Paul Frize.

To turn in a man-of-the-match display could not have come at a better time with Beith about to enter a critical period of their season and more so with the inspirational McLaughlin back training and in contention to make his comeback in Saturday’s home clash with Rob Roy.

McDonald said: "Competition for the central defensive jerseys has been fierce to say the least and it’s probably true to say I have been in and out of the team for the most part.

“That’s why I was glad to be part of a great team performance last weekend and mark my words, the hard-earned point at Valefield could turn out to be very important in the final reckoning.

“Next up we have a Rob Roy side whose forwards Kevin Watt, Willie Sawyers and Lee Gallagher are all types capable of posing problems so I would love to keep my place and face them but deep down I know it will not matter to the gaffer Johnny Millar if players are happy or not because his thoughts will be on picking a side he feels can win the game.

“And in his shoes, I would be looking to find a place for big Mark who has been in sensational form all season.”

Yet another timely boost for the Ayrshire club comes from the return to action of striker Andy Reid, who announced his retirement after appearing in the Scottish Junior Cup Final victory over Pollok in the season before last.

McDonald revealed: "Family and work issues were major factors in Andy deciding to hang up the boots but his circumstances have changed allowing him to return to training last week and it was as if he had never been away.

“There was only one club he was ever going to join and it’s a real shot in the arm to add a player of his quality to our already impressive attacking threat.

“And let’s not forget that Kenny McLean is on the way back from cruciate ligament surgery to further add to our riches so I certainly wouldn’t like to be the gaffer in having to pick two from that lot.”

Rob Roy will make the journey through to Bellsdale with a number of injuries as well as suspension ruling out young defender Danny O’Halloran.

Boss Stewart Maxwell is hoping to field former player Luke Whelan, recently released by Queen's Park, as a trialist and is toying with the idea of naming himself as a substitute to make up numbers.

Maxwell said: "We are not best placed in terms of numbers if the injuries don’t clear up and it could be the case that we will bring back Gary McMenamin even though it’s only three weeks since he was stretchered away in an ambulance during our Scottish Cup win over Glenafton.

“His recovery is probably two/three weeks ahead of schedule but we won’t take any risks unless he is confident of getting through 90 minutes without further mishap.”

Meanwhile, the New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup second round draw has landed reigning holders Pollok with a potential tie of the round clash away to Arthurlie if the Barrhead outfit can overcome Saltcoats Vics.

Beaten finalists from last time out Cumnock will be delighted with a home tie against Wishaw while another couple of tasty Ayrshire v Central encounters sees 12-time winners Auchinleck Talbot hosting the visit of St Roch's and Beith awaiting the visit of Neilston.

The full draw is Gartcairn v Lugar Boswell or Clydebank,Shotts Bon Accord v Whitletts Vics, Kilsyth Rangers v Ardeer Thistle or Greenock, Maryhill v Rob Roy or Irvine Vics, Largs Thistle v Cambuslang Rangers, Ashfield v Craigmark or Cumbernauld Utd, Cumnock v Wishaw, Larkhall Thistle v Irvine Meadow, Auchinleck Talbot v St Rochs , Dalry Thistle or Darvel v Benburb, Kilbirnie or Johnstone Burgh v Hurlford Utd or Lesmahagow, Beith v Neilston ,Forth Wanderers or Thorniewood Utd v Shettleston, Girvan v St Anthonys or Annbank Utd, Kello Rovers or Troon v Maybole , Arthurlie or Saltcoats Vics v Pollok.