AYR United boss Lee Bullen hailed the contribution of full-back Finn Ecrepont as the Honest Men maintained their advantage at the top of the Championship on Saturday.

Josh Mullin’s double gave Ayr a 2-0 win over Raith Rovers at Somerset, with the former Livingston and Ross County man sliding in to convert Logan Chalmers’ cross on the half-hour mark before heading home midway through the second half – but in Bullen’s view it was the young full-back who shone brightest of all.

Speaking to Ayr United TV after the match, Bullen said: “I know Josh has got the two goals, but [for Finn] to be out of the team for so long – he’s been desperate for his opportunity.

“He’s had to wait his time because the guys that have been playing in his position have been doing so well, but it’s credit to him and the way he’s trained and played in reserve games that he can slot in to right-back as a left-footed player and put in that type of performance.”

Saturday’s win kept Bullen’s men one point clear at the top of the table – though it’s now Dundee who lead the chasing pack, courtesy of a 1-0 win at Inverness, while Morton drop to fourth after sharing the spoils at Arbroath.

The fourth round of the Challenge Cup takes centre stage this weekend, meaning Ayr aren’t back in action until December 17 when they face Partick Thistle at Firhill.

The introduction of Dylan Watret, who came on in place of Ecrepont in the dying moments on Saturday, meant five members of the Ayr United Academy featured at one point or another during the game.

“The other big point for me is to finish that game with five academy graduates on the pitch, and being able to get young Dylan on for that last couple of minutes just to dip his toe into the water,” Bullen said.

“That’s what our club’s got to be built on. Yes, we’ve got to recruit properly, and spend the chairman’s money wisely, but if we can produce players – and there’s a few more coming up behind Dylan as well – they’re not in there as a token gesture; they’re in there because they’re doing well.”

Watch the full interview, plus highlights from Saturday’s match, at ayrunit edfc.co.uk/ayr-united-tv.