Clydebank player manager Kieran McAnespie was “devastated” after their last-minute defeat to promotion rivals Irvine Meadow on Saturday.

The teams were even for most of the game at Holm Park, but Bankies captain Phil Barclay was sent off with 15 minutes to go, and a late Andy Paterson handball after 89 minutes allowed Ben Carson to snatch all three points for the visitors.

And the manager rued their lack of clinical finishing, and his own performance.

He said: “I’m absolutely devastated. We created a lot of chances and didn’t take them.

“We worked tirelessly, we coped with everything they had, but ultimately if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net it’s going to cost you and we’ve been caught out.

“It doesn’t help either when we’ve got three or four players who are over six foot and good in the air and my set-pieces were terrible.

“That’s disappointing from a personal point of view because that’s normally one of my strengths and they were poor on Saturday.

“Final third, we lacked a bit of quality and it let us down a bit.”

A positive for the Bankies boss was the return of defender Callum Gow, who has been out of the side since McAnespie’s arrival in January.

And the former St Johnstone player lavished praise on the centre-back.

He added: “Callum Gow was absolutely outstanding on Saturday. I’m very pleased with him, because he’s worked very hard to get himself from not even in the squad to starting and probably top man for us.”

And while they lost more ground on their promotion rivals, McAnespie insisted they were still well in the hunt for a top spot, despite being in fifth and having played more games than their rivals.

“There’s still only six points separating the top six. There’s plenty of time, plenty of points still out there.

“We just need to go on a run, get some points together and get three or four wins on the trot, we need to stop losing silly goals which is killing us, but I thought on Saturday was the first time we’ve looked solid at the back and just a lapse of concentration has killed us.

“There’s definitely scope for progression and moving up the table.”