JOHNSTONE Burgh boss Jamie McKim admits his team’s first training session since lockdown came into effect in March was a “very strange experience.”

McKim welcomed his players back to Keanie Park on Saturday for the first session of a socially-distanced pre-season training regime that is unlike anything they have experienced before.

The squad was only able to work together in groups of four, alongside a coach, as part of efforts to avoid the risk of coronavirus infection.

And while he admits the ‘new normal’ will take a while to get used to, McKim is determined to make sure Burgh follow the guidelines set out by bosses at the West of Scotland Football League.

He told Gazette Sport: “We were back training on Saturday and it was very strange but it’s a step in the right direction.

“Nobody is to come into the building, the pitch has been marked out into four, there’s sanitiser readily available and we’re making sure that no-one is feeling ill. We’re just following protocol.

“At this time of the year it’s always difficult because you’re bringing in trialists and things and this has added another layer of complexity to it.

“I know not everybody is following the guidelines but I think it’s really important that we do things right.”

League bosses have pencilled in late September or early October as the start date for the new season.

McKim admits he would prefer it if his players were able to enjoy a normal pre-season ahead of the big kick-off but he is focusing on making the most of their time together – and making sure they don’t fall out of love with the beautiful game.

He said: “We’re only in one day a week at the moment, as the league hasn’t actually properly set a start date, so it’s a case of keeping the boys interested and making the sessions fun.

“There will be a lot of boys who have fallen out of the game after this, so we need to make sure none of ours fall into that bracket, which means looking after them physically and mentally.

“I’ve heard of a couple of teams who are having their players turn up just to do some running. If we tried to do that, I think the boys would lose interest.

“They have to be enjoying it and want to come here.”

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