JOHNSTONE Burgh manager Jamie McKim welcomed the return of competitive football as his side got their season underway with a goalless draw against Muirkirk at Burnside Park.

The 2021/22 West of Scotland Football League kicked off on Saturday with clubs hopeful of getting a full season completed this year after the last two campaigns were called short due to the coronavirus.

Burgh had chances throughout the afternoon but failed to find the net despite introducing forwards Paul Stewart and Jason Hardie from the bench for the final half hour.

The visitors came close through former Sheffield United and Hearts forward Christian Nade when the experienced Frenchman’s wind-assisted header hit off the crossbar.

McKim told Gazette Sport: “It was brilliant on Saturday waking up and having a different feeling to what there has been. The buzz was back and there were butterflies in the stomach.

“You want to go away and win as many games as you can so it is frustrating, but Muirkirk are a good side and it’s a tough place to go. Not many teams go there and win and I said to the players if you don’t win, make sure you don’t lose.

“We had a few very good opportunities to score, maybe three or four, but we let ourselves down. We should have done more.

“We left our two goalscorers on the bench until the hour mark because we knew what kind of day it was. We were hoping that would be plenty of time to find a goal but we couldn’t break them down in the end.”

Sides in the West of Scotland Football League have been dealt a busy opening spell of fixtures with games taking place on a Wednesday and Saturday in the first couple weeks of the season.

McKim’s side welcome Maryhill to Keanie Park this evening with the game kicking off at 7.30pm before they are on the road again on Saturday, this time making the trip to face Lesmahagow. Kick-off at Craighead Park is 2pm.

The Burgh boss has revealed he will change things up for tonight’s visit of Maryhill due to the busy schedule, but believes he can put out a strong squad no matter who takes to the field.

He added: “I had a conversation with the players that not everybody can start every game.

“Every single player will be needed and it’s all about being a team player.”