Neilston’s aspirations of making a first-ever Macron Scottish Junior Cup semi-final appearance were given a reality check in quite atrocious footballing conditions at Brig O’Lea on Saturday.

Any hopes of a historic run that were mentioned in the build-up to their quarter-final against Pollok were blown to smithereens as their opponents made the most of a second-half blizzard at their backs to run out 4-1 winners.

It was no more than the Premiership big guns deserved after demonstrating their greater pedigree in spades during an opening 45 minutes where they played into a strong and bitterly cold wind, yet still managed to battle their way to a 0-0 stalemate at the halfway stage.

One sensed the Farmer’s Boys had possibly lost their chance at that juncture as the momentum was always going be with Pollok after the break, and the scene was clearly set for one of those occasions when the first goal of the game was going to prove crucial.

And how cruel it was for Neilston to concede when enjoying their best attacking spell of this tie and for one of their own – Lok striker Adam Forde, born and bred in the East Renfrewshire village – to hammer the first nail in their coffin.

The Championship outfit’s co-manager Chris Cameron said afterwards: “We took the initiative away from Pollok at the start of the second half and had a concerted period of pressure with the ball in and around their area, but it’s at times like this when a team is at its most susceptible as we found to our cost.

“From nothing more than a shy just into our half, their full-back Sideserf has laid a short pass into the path of Fordy.

“We know all about his quality yet he’s totally unmarked and is able to do what he does best in rifling a low shot into the back of our net from 25 yards.

“He has scored far too easily for our liking and it’s been a massive turning point in the game because Pollok have derived a huge confidence lift and gone on to dominate, even though I felt a 4-1 scoreline was a bit harsh on us.

“There had been little to choose between the teams for the first 52 minutes and we had chances of our own, albeit probably more half-chances than clear-cut openings, but giving Fordy a clear sight at goal has been fatal.”

The overhead conditions prevented the Neilston defenders from clearing their line and contributed greatly to Pollok doubling their lead on 68 minutes when Derek Esplin latched onto a wayward ball and squared for Chris Duff to smash a shot beyond goalkeeper James Digney.

Lok made it 3-0 minutes later as Gary McCann worked his way past a couple of challenges and cut the ball back for brother Stuart to fire low under the helpless Neilston keeper.

Pollok grabbed a fourth on 84 minutes after Neilston stopper Daryll Convery’s attempted pass across his own penalty box went straight to Duff, and he curled a shot high into the net.

Neilston heads were understandably down, yet right from the restart came a final show of defiance as Steff Stirling worked his way into the box, only to be downed by a Gerry McLauchlan tackle from behind. The resulting spot-kick was duly tucked away by Dylan Fletcher to put a better complexion on the scoreline.

Afterwards, Lok assistant Budgie McGhie lauded his side’s application in the testing conditions.

He said: “Today was the culmination of two or three weeks of hard work in extremely difficult weather and I cannot praise the guys enough for their professionalism in finally getting the job done.

“I know they want to dedicate the win to gaffer Murdie McKinnon who has endured a difficult six weeks of his own with illness.”

Pollok marksman Forde was the subject of some light-hearted jibes from Neilston associates as he emerged from the away dressing room.

“I don’t think there will be many people buying me drinks in the village tonight,” he laughed.

“I found it very difficult first half and hardly had a touch of the ball, but having the wind at our backs made a huge difference and I’ve managed to get a decent strike on the ball for our first goal.”

Joining Pollok in the last four – and keeping alive dreams of a repeat of the 2016 final – are Beith, following a 4-1 win over Kello Rovers. The home side went down to 10 men when Ross McKenzie was dismissed early in the second half with the Mighty 1-0 ahead thanks to Kenny McLean’s goal.

Mark Armour then levelled for Kello but almost immediately, Daz Christie restored the home team’s lead and further goals from Connor McGlinchey and substitute Callum Imrie secured a semi-final place.

Meanwhile, League One champions Gartcairn are through to the Champions Cup final (held over from last season) following a 3-1 win over League Two kingpins Lanark United.

In what little league action survived the elements, Premiership frontrunners Kilwinning Rangers dropped two precious points in a 1-1 draw away to Troon where Calvin Kemp’s first-half strike for the Buffs was cancelled out by Mark Morrison’s 73rd-minute equaliser to earn a share of the spoils for the home side.

Cumnock underlined their improvement under Tony McInally with a crushing 4-0 victory over bottom-markers Rob Roy thanks to an own goal and counters from Ryan Caddis, Ally Miller and Greg Ferry, while Rossvale brought the curtain down on a miserable February by succumbing to their fourth defeat on the spin as they went down 2-1 at home to Clydebank. Nikky Little and Aaron Miller were on target for the visitors with Del McNab netting a consolation for the Vale.

Blantyre Vics boosted their hopes of Championship title glory after goals from Ross Caldwell, John Cunningham and Jake Hughes clinched a dramatic 3-2 win at Whitletts Vics while Petershill lost 2-0 at home to Arthurlie.

Greenock moved up onto the League One promotion fringes with a hard fought 2-1 defeat of Carluke Rovers, while prolific hitman Callum Graham and strike partner Brian Hepburn each netted braces as League Two title hopefuls Ashfield dished out a 6-3 beating to Annbank United. That result leaves the Possil outfit as the West Region’s highest-scoring team.