Steering Hurlford United to West of Scotland Cup glory may not be the greatest achievement in football, but manager Darren Henderson was delighted with the victory at the time.

The 3-1 penalty kicks shoot-out victory over Beith, following a 2-2 regulation-time stalemate, allowed him to find solace from having experienced the worst two minutes of his managerial career just 17 days earlier with their dramatic Scottish Junior Cup final defeat by Auchinleck Talbot.

Henderson delighted in getting his hands on the West silverware, not least because Hurlford had never won the long-running competition, which maybe explains why he is desperate for his men to carry memories of that historic Meadow Park triumph into Saturday’s first defence of the trophy against Johnstone Burgh.

The Premiership-leading Ayrshiremen, three leagues higher up the Junior ladder and with home advantage, are strongly fancied to win the match but their cautious boss' belief that nothing should be taken for granted led to one of his trusted associates being assigned to cast an eye over the Burgh last weekend.

“It was a worthwhile exercise because they comprehensively beat Ardeer Thistle 6-1 and we are now aware of the threat posed by their players," he said. “Look, we are expected to win and hopefully we will but Junior football is renowned for cup shocks and I refuse to take chances by thinking we just need to turn up and a place in the next round will be ours. It's best if our players realise that I am taking Johnstone Burgh seriously and I want them to do the same."

Hurlford's wonderful winning run in the Premiership (11 consecutive victories) came to an end last weekend when they went down 2-0 at home to Kilwinning Rangers much to their manager’s chagrin.

"I knew our run had to end sometime but losing in the manner we did was a bit of a sickener," he said. "Chris Robertson’s sending off after just 25 minutes beggars belief and not having his aerial ability was a big miss seeing as Kilwinning scored from two set-pieces. However, our overall performance was a bit flat and we got our just desserts.

“I said to the players afterwards they would need to stand up and be counted over the coming weeks and show they are capable of bouncing straight back so I cannot wait to see their reaction when Johnstone Burgh come through to Blair Park.”

Henderson does not have his selection problems to seek with one time St Mirren defender David Barron, who sat out the Kilwinning game with a groin strain, again a non-starter while a two-game suspension makes Chris Roberson another absentee, with a calf muscle strain ruling out bustling front-man Ross Robertson.

The Hurlford boss admitted: "Three massive players for us this season and none of them able to take any part in the game so I’m looking for the guys coming in to fill their boots to show me that they deserve to keep the jerseys.”

Meanwhile, Neilston’s first-round tie at home to Craigmark is set to mark the exits of co-managers Martin Campbell and John Paul Dow whose resignations have been reluctantly accepted by Brig O’Lea club officials.

One-time Celtic signing Dow had previously intimated he was calling it a day through pressure of work commitments but Campbell stunned the Championship outfit’s players and supporters by deciding he too would call it quits.

He said: “The time is right because I feel as if the spark is no longer there and I’ve just been going through the motions over the last couple of months.

“This is not a decision I took lightly because this club is a fantastic place to work and the people behind the scenes are different class and maybe that’s had a bearing on my call because I don’t want to be cheating them if my heart’s not in it anymore.

“ No other team is involved and you won’t see me bouncing back into the game because truth is I need a rest and a chance to recharge my batteries.

“Derek Carson, a former Neilston player, whom J.P. and I brought in as a coach, is going to look after team matters on a caretaker basis and I wish him every success and hope he makes such a great fist of it that the club will fight tooth and nail to keep him at the helm.

“J.P. and I will take charge of the team for the last time on Saturday and our hope is to walk away on a winning note.”