EAST Kilbride moved within touching distance of the title after a 4-0 win over bottom side Preston Athletic.

Russell McLean slotted home two with both David Proctor and Sean Winter also netting for the leaders as they return to winning ways at K Park.

Martin Lauchlan’s team remain seven points clear of East Stirlingshire with a game in hand.

The manager said: “It was important to collect the three points today after last week’s draw.

“We played well but we had to wait until midway through the second half before we gave ourselves a cushion.”

Second placed Shire fired three past Gretna at Raydale Stadium to remain in contention.

Andy Rodgers struck twice with the other goal coming from David Grant.

Shire boss John Sludden said: “It wasn’t the best of days for weather.

"There was a howling wind straight down the pitch, there was rain and the park itself was soft, so we knew it was going to be a day when we would have to get the sleeves rolled up and work hard.

“That said, we played some good football at times and the goals were excellent, but we knew we would have to battle at times.”

Spartans’ slim hopes of catching the leaders ended with a 1-0 defeat to Stirling University at Ainslie Park.

A Chris Geddes strike with two minutes remaining was enough for Shelley Kerr’s students to pick up the three points.

On fire Dalbeattie Star fired seven past Hawick Royal Albert at Islecroft Stadium.

Tommy Muir grabbed two with James Baty, Danny Dunglinson, Dean Brotherston, Lewis Sloan and Joe Slattery also scoring in the rout.

Kris Mitchell scored the Albert’s consolation.

Edinburgh University moved away from the relegation zone with a hard-fought 2-0 win Cumbernauld Colts.

All other matches were postponed due to water logged pitches.