Tom McCreath had played junior football in his younger days with such as Ailsa, Dalmellington and Auchinleck Talbot, but he had no grounding in senior football other than helping to run the Ayr United reserve team. One week after Flavell left Tom McCreath was appointed as manager with the club teetering on the brink of oblivion. At this time he lived in Kirkmichael and was a master joiner.
His first match was a defeat at Stranrear and United lost their next two festive season matches to Albion Rovers and Queens Park at Hampden Park. A surprise win at home to Queen of the South by 3-1 on 2nd January was just the start of the good news for Ayr. Despite an annoymous buyer for the club falling through local haulage firm head, Tom McGawn, bought out the now ill Matt Pollock. This was quickly followed by the news that Ayr Garage owner, Bob McCall who had recently sold his radio and TV company, had joined the Board.
McGawn became director and other new directors arrived. This sudden stability within the club drove the new manager on but, although the club was safe from extinction, there second from bottom league finish meant that they had to seek re-election to the league which was achieved. Despite this there was optimism around the club and a sensational 1-0 against Kilmarnock (who had just been crown league champions two days previously, in the Ayrshire Cup.
The following season (1964/65) McCreath made a defiant statement that Ayr United were going to bring first division football to the club. In April 1966, He statement told its story that with virtually that same staff, Ayr United were now top of the second division. On wednesday evening, 27th April 1966 Ayr United defeated East Fife 2-0 to win the League and gain promotion. Having applied for re-election only a year before the club were now back in Division 1 and in his only full season as manager, Tom McCreath had achieved his goal.
Incredibly Tom McCreath stepped down as manager in favour of Ally MacLeod. He did remain with the club as a director.