THORN Athletic boss Johnny McEwan admits the festive break has come at a good time for his injury-hit squad.

The Johnstone team ended the year with a 4-2 defeat against Dalziel in the Caledonian Premier League and won’t be back in action until January 8, when they head to Aberdeenshire for a Scottish Amateur Cup tie with Cowie Thistle.

McEwan said: “It’s going to be very tough, with the festive period in between and then the journey, but we will do our best to prepare as well as we can. Injuries have been a major issue for us but hopefully, with a couple of quieter weeks, these will clear up and we’ll be in better shape for the Scottish.”

First-half goals from Muir McCluskey and Cameron Armstrong against Dalziel weren’t enough to prevent Thorn’s first league defeat of the season, with McEwan describing the result as “a bitter disappointment.”

He added: “We’ll put it behind us now, as we have a chance to reach the last 16 of the national cup competition.”