By Frank Cassidy and Stewart McConnell

UPBEAT Kilwinning Rangers manager Chris Strain is still taking positives from his side's narrow cup loss against longstanding foes Auchinleck Talbot.

And he is considering strengthening the squad as we approach the season's halfway point.

Buffs lost out on penalties after a goalless draw.

The Abbey Park gaffer feels his team more than matched Tommy Sloan's side, who recently reached the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup by toppling Cove Rangers and once again top the McBookie Premiership.

Strain said after the match: "Auchinleck are a good side, you don't get handed any goals as they don't make mistakes or take risks.

"I thought we had the better of the play in the first half while they looked the more likely towards the end of the game but I always felt we had a counter-attack in us.

"We had 12 fit players today due to holidays, suspensions and injuries and held our own and more than matched them.

"With a wee bit of luck, the result would have went for us. We have kept three clean sheets on the bounce and look more assured at the back.

"If I get a couple of players in, whether it is new signings or guys returning to fitness, then I am sure we can go on a run."

Although unhappy to lose the match, Strain could not fault his understrength squad and felt they went toe-to-toe with Talbot for much of the encounter.

"It is disappointing to lose on penalties when you have put so much into the game.

"If we had been better equipped with our squad size and on the bench we could have maybe made changes to affect the game.

"But in the end, every player played well - they are the best in the business and, it we had done better in the final third, we could have changed the game.

"From a managerial point of view it was a good match-up and a hard and honest game, " the manager added.

Next up for Buffs is a home league clash with Cumnock.

The Abbey Park side mounted a title challenge last season but are currently in ninth spot and will be looking for a win to help them push up the table.