TEENAGER Scott Tomlinson’s performance was one of the few bright spots for Ayr boss Scott Brown as the Honest Men dropped back to within three points of the Championship relegation play-off spot on Saturday.

Ruari Paton headed Queen’s Park ahead at Somerset before Cillian Sheridan added a second for the Spiders on the hour after Jack Sanders gave away possession on the edge of his own penalty area.

Sanders’ header with 12 minutes left set up a grandstand finish, but Ayr couldn’t conjure up an equaliser as they slipped behind Calum Davidson’s side to within three points of second bottom Inverness.

Speaking to Ayr's media team after the match, Brown said: “We were lucky enough we were still in the game. Queen’s kept switching the play, and we never dealt with that whatsoever.

“There was no urgency in our game, no composure on the ball. For me there wasn’t a lot to be positive about.”

Ayr stepped up the pace at the start of the second half before Sanders’ mistake let in Paton to set up Sheridan for the visitors’ second – leaving the hosts with too much to do in the closing half an hour.

“It’s those individual mistakes that’s costing us a lot,” Brown continued, “and when we do make those errors it’s costing us a goal.

"We need to make sure that we get out of that.”

Tomlinson came on as a half-time substitute for Nick McAllister, and Brown praised the youngster’s contribution after the break.

“We’re still trying to think about what position he’s best in,” Brown admitted. “We did see him as a right back but defensively we’ve got a lot of work to do with him. As a wing back he did really, really well today.

“He was the only one with a little bit of quality, a little bit of desire to go forward, and he managed to beat his man and put a couple of balls in the box.

“For a young guy to come on and show that quality was brilliant, because there’s a lot of older, experienced pros in the team that didn’t do that.”

So tight are the Championship standings that although Ayr are just three points above the relegation play-offs, they are also just four points off the top four – with Airdrieonians, fresh from their SPFL Trust Trophy triumph on Sunday, occupying that fourth place ahead of this Friday’s clash between the two teams at Somerset.

Friday’s game will be broadcast live on BBC Scotland and kicks off at 7.45pm.

Watch extended highlights from Saturday’s match, and Scott Brown’s reaction in full, online at ayrunitedfc.co.uk/ayr-united-tv.