Clydebank manager Kieran McAnespie described his side’s performance as ‘bittersweet’ as they crashed out of the West of Scotland Cup with a 2-0 loss to Cumnock on Saturday.

Goals in either half from Keiren Wood and Scott Anson saw the Nock set up a quarter final against Beith as Bankies faltered.

McAnespie, who served the last of his six match touchline ban for the game, said: “It’s kind of bittersweet, because we actually played some really good stuff in spells but going forward it’s the final ball that’s letting us down.

“But we can play as well as we want by passing it as well as we want, but if you defend like that you don’t deserve to win.

“That’s the disappointing thing about it, because defensively we just look a million miles away from it.

“There are so many passages of play prior to conceding the second to prevent it.

“It could’ve been anyone sitting at the back post because we gave them so much space and time to get a free header on it and it’s just criminal. We’ve got a top class goalie in Marc Waters, and we’re isolating him. He put his hands up saying he should’ve held the first goal, but it’s the second and third phase after it we’re not ready for.”

With Steven Higgins, Ryan Deas and Reece Pearson all suspended, McAnespie promoted U19 academy graduates Jordan Hay and Nathan Carmichael to the bench.

He added: “We’re still just trying to educate them and trying to create a strong team from what we’ve got. I’m not trying to make excuses, but when you lose seven first team players in the last four months, it’s not easy to do.

“Then you need to take into account injuries, suspensions and retirements and it’s hard to legislate for that. I was sitting with a squad of 20 up until January, and now I’m struggling to fill the bench.”

The Bankies boss also confirmed he has held preliminary discussions with ex captain Phil Barclay about returning to the club.

He added: “We spoke briefly during the week and again today. I’ll give him a phone again this week and see where his head is at. But we are seriously weak throughout the squad.

“I think we’ve got enough to see out the last three games, but we shouldn’t have to be relying on other teams to help secure our safety.

“We know Arthurlie will finish bottom, but we don’t want the deciding factor in our season being relying on Girvan to lose a game.

“We want to finish on a high and give the fans something to go away and enjoy.

“The first priority this season was to stay in the league and we just need to grit our teeth and make sure we get the points we need on the board.”