Any look back at Beith's preparations for this delayed 2020/21 season will show them winning their friendly against Cambuslang Rangers at a canter, with evidence of a 5-1 scoreline in their favour.

It has to be said the Ayrshiremen were the dominant force overall but even delighted manager Bryan Young admitted his side, containing a somewhat liberal sprinkling of Under-20 players, needed to ride their luck in order to overcome a sticky start in the Bellsdale Park contest.

"We competed well from the first whistle but without creating anything of note whereas Cambuslang cut us open on more than one occasion and probably should have scored before we did," said Youngy afterwards.

"To be 3-0 up at the halfway point undoubtedly flattered us but our clinical finishing put a smile on my face because we have played in games recently where the boot has been on the other foot and we’ve had nothing to show for decent build-up play."

New signings Dale Burgess, Kevin Watt and Ally Park were among the more recognisable faces in a youthful Beith starting line-up that was put under the cosh by their forceful and more experienced opponents right from the kick-off, and indeed the Wee Gers had the ball in the net just six minutes in - Scott Jarvie’s clever footwork setting up Scott Williamson to flick home a diving header - only for whistler Michael McCart to disallow the score for offside.

Williamson also slid a shot just wide when clean through on goal and other near things ensued for Willie McLaren and Scott McManus before the visitors suffered an injury blow  as a 23rd-minute clash of heads between centre-back pair Craig Crawford and Kevin Ross saw the latter exit proceedings nursing an ugly gash at his eye that was clearly going to require a hospital visit.

It's difficult to comprehend whether the subsequent defensive reshuffle was where it all started to go wrong for the visitors but almost instantly they found themselves trailing 1-0 thanks to the considerable assistance offered up by goalkeeper Ian Stewart in inexplicably allowing a low-hit 22-yard shot by Larry McMahon to squirm from his outstretched grasp and over the line.

A buoyed Beith then put the game to bed with two goals inside two minutes, as firstly Stewart again seemed at fault in failing to deal with a cross ball and Ross McKenzie glanced home from close range however the Cambuslang No.1 hadn't a hope when Beith moved 3-0 ahead after an Ally Park cross picked out the unmarked Watt around the penalty spot and he planted a strong header high into the net.

A rash Ryan Docherty challenge felling Lang substitute Kieron Christie early into the second half enabled Thomas Sinclair to tuck away the resulting penalty and reduce the deficit however a clipped cross-cum-shot by impressive Beith youngster Jordan Duffy skimmed off opponent Gary McMullen’s head to restore the home team’s three-goal advantage and the coup de grace was fittingly supplied by ex-Albion Rovers signing  McMahon, arguably the best player afield in an unfamiliar midfield role, when he pounced on a break of the ball just outside the penalty area and rifled a shot ball beyond substitute keeper Fermen Jeminez for 5-1.

Youngy revealed: "Larry’s versatility makes him a wonderful asset and he was indeed outstanding today but his performances up to now have been every bit as good playing as a central defender.

"He and Ally Park provided us with a strong midfield balance and the young guys around them from the Under-20s thrived on their influence and it was a joy to see they did not look out of their depth at any point in the game.

"Their showings are a credit to all the hard work put in by our development manager Chris Wilson and only goes to underline yet again that running an Under-20 side is not just a box ticking exercise here at Beith."

Losing gaffer Paul McColl did not attempt to gloss over his side’s shortcomings when giving his summations.

He insisted: "We started so brightly and came unstuck on the back of a couple of untypical goalkeeping errors which Beith punished.

"There were a lot of positives in our first-half display but I felt we never turned up for the second 45 minutes and the only pleasing aspect is the game being a friendly match intended to give players some match practice.

"We have lots to work on and hopefully we can make the necessary improvements on the training ground before we play again."

In other friendly affairs, renowned hitman Jamie Longworth was on target along with Connor Hughes and Kieron Daw as St Roch's chalked up a 3-1 victory over Pollok for whom Chris Dallas netted while another surprise upturn was Wishaw's 1-0 defeat of Rutherglen Glencairn thanks to a Jack McClair goal.

The clash of neighbourly big guns Hurlford United and Darvel ended with honours even following a hard fought 1-1 draw, however goals were easier to come by at Holm Park where former Darvel striker Ross McPherson was on the scoresheet with a brace of goals along with Liam McGonigle(2), Ciaran Mulcahy and Nikky Little in a 6-1 hammering of Cumbernauld United.

Rossvale duo James Finlay and Fraser Malcolm were on the mark to help chalk up a 2-1 triumph over Gartcairn, whose consolation came from Sean O’Grady while Rob Roy prevailed by the odd goal in a seven-goal thriller against Kilsyth Rangers thanks to counters from Alex Cassells, Danny O’Halloran, Sean McMonagle and Michael Tuohy in response to Kilsyth goals by Willie Sawyers, Gary Stewart and Ryan Deas.

Johnstone Burgh ran out 3-1 winners over Drumchapel United, Cammy Haddow and Kieran Brophy scored in Neilston’s 2-1 defeat of Greenock while Blair McDonald and William Davies found the net as East Kilbride Thistle came good by the same scoreline away to Forth Wanderers whose marksman was Billy Stevenson.

Friendly Results 
Gartcairn 1 Rossvale 2, Beith 5 Cambuslang Rangers 1, Whitburn 5 Newmains Utd 0, Hurlford Utd 1 Darve 1, Maybole 3 Bonnyton Thistle 1, Wishaw 1 Rutherglen Glencairn 0, St Roch's 3 Pollok 1, Neilston 2 Greenock 1, Johnstone Burgh 3 Drumchapel Utd 1 Kilsyth Rangers 3 Rob Roy 4, Clydebank 6 Cumbernauld Utd 1, Forth Wanderers 1 East Kilbride Thistle 2.