JOHNSTONE Burgh boss Jamie McKim admits Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Craigmark Burntonians felt like a defeat.

The Keanie Park outfit conceded late to come away with only a point in a vital game in Conference A as both sides chase a top-four finish.

Brian Connor had put Burgh ahead in the first-half with a composed finish after good pressing from his teammates in the final third presented the opportunity.

Both sides were reduced to 10 men with Craigmark seeing red first before Jordan Murch was sent off for an apparent elbow, though McKim has confirmed he is planning to appeal the decision.

The hosts held on until the 88th minute when Jordan Ryan forced the ball over the line following Stuart Collins’ initial save.

The result leaves Burgh in fourth in the table but Craigmark trail by just three points and have two games in hand setting up a tense finale to the campaign.

Finishing second, third or fourth in the Conference will secure Championship football for next season and McKim accepts a point on Saturday was the right outcome.

Speaking to Gazette Sport, he said: “Over the balance of play a draw is a fair result but it was just the timing of the goal which makes it hard to take and a red card was very hard to take as well. It feels like a defeat.

“Saturday was a must-not-lose game – I would have been delighted to win obviously but the fact we didn’t lose keeps us in the mix and puts the pressure on the teams around about us.

“We scored a really good goal but I’m disappointed we couldn’t get a second and get over the line with three points.

“I don’t think the red card is justified. I think the referee has taken it out of context based on what actually happened and seen it as an opportunity to even things up.

“There is an accidental collision, but he didn’t swing in a violent way.

“I was really flat on Sunday but that’s as long as we can afford to feel sorry for ourselves.”

Burgh host the league leaders this weekend as the ‘Lie look to maintain their unbeaten record and McKim is confident his troops are good enough to bring that to an end.

He added: “Arthurlie are a good side but I believe on our day that we can beat anybody. I hope they come up over-confident and think the game is won before they arrive because my players are good enough to give them a shock.”

Kick-off at Keanie Park on Saturday is at 2pm.