Ayr United interim manager Jim Duffy branded the Scottish Professional Football League’s decision to boot Ayr United out of the Challenge Cup ‘ridiculous’.

The Honest men were expelled from the competition for fielding ineligible players (more information on page eight) after beating Rangers B a fortnight ago.

Speaking to the Advertiser, Duffy said : “I think it was a shocking decision from the governing body that was ridiculously harsh.

“Part of the reason the colts are allowed into the competition is to give the young players exposure to competitive first team football.

“That is exactly what we did with two young players and in my opinion it was a minor administrative error.

“To award Rangers B a 3-0 victory was way out of balance of the crime that was committed.”

United had to bounce back from that midweek disappointment in haste ahead of their meeting with Greenock Morton at the weekend.

Duffy went into the match at Somerset Park looking to make it four wins from four in his temporary reign so far.

However, the Honest Men had to settle for a point with Duffy quick to praise his defenders for a third successive clean sheet.

“I think we edged it slightly but there was not much in the game, it was a very competitive difficult game. Overall, when it is a difficult match the most important thing is that you do not lose it.

“In an ideal world you want to go be positive and score goals but sometimes that will not happen for you.

“So when it does not happen you have to be defensively sound and I think we were at the weekend.”

Next up for Ayr is a trip up to Firhill on Saturday to take on Partick Thistle, with Duffy expecting a hard test against the second highest scorers in the Championship.

“Thistle are a very good side that score a lot of goals, so like every other game in the division it will be very tough.

“We are missing Daire O’Connor who dislocated his shoulder against Morton and he will be a big miss.”

Kick-off for the Honest Men on Saturday is at 3pm.