AYR United boss Lee Bullen says he is seeing "wee lights at the end of the tunnel" after a disappointing start to the season for the Honest Men.

Following the international break, Ayr return to action this Friday, September 15, when Partick Thistle come to Somerset Park – with Bullen and his players hoping to end a poor run which has seen them pick up just one win from their first four Championship matches and tumble out of the SPFL Trust Trophy after a 1-0 loss to Falkirk last Tuesday.

He told the Advertiser this week: “There’s a lot of disappointment, a lot of negativity, it’s a tough place to be at the moment.

“I’ve got no issues with that. I’ve had before and it won’t be the last time we have it as a team or individuals.

“There’s wee lights at the end of the tunnel - [Jamie] Murphy is back in training now, Ben Dempsey has had his operation so he’s on about an eight week return now, so there’s positives there.”

Bullen also says the international break has been useful in helping his squad gel after Ayr were forced into the transfer market following injuries to Murphy, Dempsey and other key squad members.

"The new boys have been thrown in at the deep end – we’ve not had a massive amount of time to bed things in," he continued.

“There’s a reserve game on Tuesday, which is great for lads that have maybe not had a great deal of game time, so it’s been good from that side of things.

“We use it [reserve games] really well - I usually say to the lads if you don’t start on a Saturday, expect to be playing on the Tuesday.

“We’ve always tried to go relatively strong because we want competitive games.”

Bullen hinted that first team players Fraser Bryden, Robbie Mutch, Elicha Ahui, Franny Amarty, Mark McKenzie could all feature against Livingston on Tuesday, as well as Jamie Murphy as he puts his fitness to the test.

The boss is hoping it will set his squad up nicely for what is set to be another challenging match on Friday evening.

“Partick is a very tough game," he told the Advertiser, "but we’ll catch somebody, 100 per cent. I’m hoping it’ll be Friday night.

“It would just be nice to get another three points on the board and drag ourselves back in amongst the pack.

“It’s probably one of the hardest games you could have, other than Dundee United. Partick have started the season really well.

“But it’s a game to look forward to. These are the types of game that test you and there’s no reason we can’t go and get a result.

“It doesn’t matter who it’s against - we’re just grappling for that next win which can help the supporters calm down a little bit, help the players calm down a little, help me calm down a little bit, help the owners calm down a little bit.

“I know what it’s like when you are striving for that win. You’re questioning everything as a coach, as a manager, your line-up, your tactics, your decision making with subs. The players are questioning whether they made the right pass - should they have shot, should they have crossed?

“Everybody’s questioning everything and it’s the supporters that are asking most of the questions.”

And though the boss knows that a win would be great for the squad, he knows that they would need to continue to work to get more on the board, rather than the win guaranteeing a run of results.

He added: “There’s certainly no expectation after getting one win. There is a hope that it does help with confidence and gets you up there.

“I don’t think you can ever expect that in this league. It’s such a competitive league – probably the most difficult league in Britain. Every week a different question is asked of you."

And while the window for permanent transfers is now shut until the end of the year, the United boss says there may still be another new face to come before the loan market closes at the end of this month.

“We’re still trying to get maybe one more over the line if we can," he added, "but it’s getting the right person or hoping that a team makes a player available.

“It would be nice to get another one in the door if we could.”

Friday's match against Partick Thistle gets under way at 7.45pm and will be shown live on the BBC Scotland channel.