Johnstone Burgh boss Jamie McKim hailed his high-flying team’s character after they shrugged off postponement disappointment to pick up another emphatic league win.

Burgh, once again embracing Renfrew’s New Western Park as their home for the weekend in order to ensure the match beat the weather, didn’t have to get out of second gear as they brushed aside Annbank United 5-0, thanks to Sam Esplin’s hat-trick and a brace from Jason Hardie.

Well into March now and with fellow promotion-chasing sides beginning to wrap up their campaign, the Johnstone outfit are still facing a fixture backlog. 

And with the stop-start nature of their season threatening to derail their promotion bid every weekend, McKim has been continuously thrilled to see his players maintain their sublime standards throughout.

“I’m absolutely delighted with that result and performance from Saturday,” the gaffer told Gazette Sport.

READ MORE: Burgh boss confident his side will cope with backlog

“I was actually a bit concerned before the match as we were missing a few key players and after another postponement last weekend. I do have a big squad but missing a few of the regulars is never good, so to get the win in that style is superb. The boys were brilliant from start to the finish. I really couldn’t have asked for any more from them.

“The commitment and character shown from these boys week in, week out to deal with all these postponements and continue this amazing run and pick up wins has been nothing short of incredible. The thing that impresses me most every week is the levels in training.

The Gazette: Sam Esplin's hat-trick sent Burgh on their way (Photo: Kenneth McWilliam)Sam Esplin's hat-trick sent Burgh on their way (Photo: Kenneth McWilliam)

“Every single member of this squad trains to an unbelievable standard every single week. Their attitude towards training is top-notch and I think that has played a massive part in how well we’ve played throughout the season. The drive and attitude is non-stop as I think they know that, with the strength of this squad, if they let their levels dip just once then there’s someone there to take their place. That competition is driving everyone on every week and will continue to do so.”

Turning their attention away from league business this weekend, Burgh face a stiff test against West Premiership side Benburb in the third round of the Ardagh West of Scotland Cup.

And while McKim knows his team goes into the cup clash as underdogs, he believes the players have the quality needed to spring a surprise.

“We’ll need a big display against Bens on Saturday but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we have a good chance to progress,” he said. “To what extent we have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals depends on how well we carry out our own game plan on the day.

READ MORE: Floodgates open as Burgh record thumping 8-0 Lugar win

“I firmly believe in my team and believe we have enough quality there to go and beat Benburb. I also know that, if we don’t play to our ability and show our usual form, then we won’t stand any chance.

“To have any hope in this one, we’ll need to be at our very best, which I believe we will be.

“If I had a smaller squad, then a cup run on top of our fixture backlog would concern me but the fact that we we have a big squad means there’s no reason for us not to give it our all in the cup and hopefully progress.

“Bens are a Premiership team, so we do know it could be a difficult weekend. We have the tools to hurt them, though, and we’re confident in our ability.”

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