JOHNSTONE Burgh boss Jamie McKim admits he was thrilled to be back on the touchline on Saturday as his team finally returned to action.

The Keanie Park players hadn’t been able to kick a ball in a competitive environment since March but lockdown restrictions have now been eased to allow matches to take place between teams from the same council area.

That gave Burgh the chance to take on under-21 outfit Harmony Row at the weekend in a pre-season friendly.

And, despite a few signs of rustiness, McKim was pleased with what he saw after a lay-off that lasted more than six months.

He told Gazette Sport: “It was great to be back and see the enjoyment of the players.

“We played quite well and there were some outstanding performers. In the first half especially, we really dominated.”

Although the match ended in defeat for Burgh, the result was of little importance to McKim.

He said: “I’m not taking any notice of pre-season friendly results. A defeat is not what we want but the results aren’t on my mind – it’s the performance that counts.

“I’ve got to say the Harmony Row team were excellent and their young goalkeeper had the game of his life. There are no complaints from me. It could have finished a different scoreline. We could have won convincingly and nobody would have complained.”

Although pleased to see his troops back in action, McKim admits it was difficult to focus on the game at a time when various measures to guard against coronavirus remain in place.

Changing rooms are only able to be used if social distancing guidelines are followed and supporters are not yet allowed entry.

McKim said: “I was focusing on the game as much as I could but there are other things that, as a club, you’re wary of.

“We gave the kits out on Thursday night and had the players’ area set up with seats that were socially distanced. We also had a gazebo for the opposition team to leave their belongings underneath and keep them dry.

“Really, it was a case of turn up in your kit and play and then you’re back in the car and away.”

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