Jamie McKim challenged his Johnstone Burgh side to bounce back stronger after falling to two heavy losses in their opening Sectional League Cup fixtures.

Burgh were on the wrong end of a rout on Saturday afternoon at Dunterlie Park as Duncan Sinclair’s West Region Championship side cruised to a resounding 8-1 win.

The Keanie Park men welcomed Premiership outfit Benburb on Monday night, conceding inside the opening 10 minutes before going on to lose 3-0.

McKim admitted that Saturday’s performance was inexcusable but believes there were some signs on Monday against the Bens that gave him a glimmer of hope ahead of facing Neilston tonight and, more importantly, taking on Forth Wanderers in their opening League Two match at Keanie Park this Saturday.

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“That a difficult weekend for us,” McKim told Gazette Sport. “It was a very tough start against two good very good teams in Arthurlie and Benburb. I would say the boys have learned more in those two games than they’ve learned in the last two years of their careers. It’s a big learning curve.

“There’s no denying it, there was absolutely no positives or anything to take away from that on Saturday. We were well beaten.

“Monday against the Bens was a wee bit different. Although we got beat 3-0, we showed more in that one against a top side. 

“We lost a poor goal at the very start of the game and put ourselves in a difficult position and under pressure but we had a wee spell in the first-half and a couple of chances to get back into it with their keeper pulling off a few good saves.

“We missed a penalty in the second-half. I won’t criticise anyone for it but if we score then it could be a different game. 

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“I have no complaints. The boys gave everything but sometimes you just get beaten by the better teams - that’s football.

“The most important thing for me is that we come back stronger from this. We can’t let this define our season and what we’re hoping to do this year.

“I still believe we’re in a good place for the league starting and we’ve built a really good squad, regardless of the Sectional League Cup results.”

With one more Sectional match still to come, the gaffer admits that all of his attention has now turned to Saturday’s league opener against the Wanderers, next Wednesday’s St Anthony’s match and then next Saturday’s Ardeer fixture.

He added: “I won’t dismiss the league cup completely and I’m obviously disappointed in how it’s gone so far but the most important thing for me is the league on Saturday.

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“We’re fine tuning for the league now and the Neilston game will take care of itself. 

“We’ve got three big games in the league in the first week, starting with Forth at Keanie on Saturday. If we want to have a good season then it’s really important we start positively. 

“I’ve done my homework and watched Forth and St Anthony’s twice. I feel like we’ve really prepared well for the league and we’re ready for it now.”

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