JOHNSTONE Burgh manager Jamie McKim reckons his team’s gruelling pre-season schedule will pay dividends when the competitive action resumes next month.

The Keanie Park players have faced tough assignments in recent weeks, with games against Auchinleck Talbot and Beith already under their belts.

And there are further challenges ahead, with Clydebank heading to Johnstone tonight and the likes of Pollok and Drumchapel United also scheduled for friendlies before the new West of Scotland Football League (WoSFL) campaign begins on Saturday, July 17.

McKim’s troops will have played 10 friendlies before the start of the league action – and he believes his young guns are learning plenty from coming up against strong opponents.

He told Gazette Sport: “We arrange games like this every year and do it to be as good as we can be.

“There’s no point in playing games against smaller teams to try and build confidence. You want to see how the best do it and put yourselves up against them so you can see where you are and where you need to be.

“It’s a good gauge for us to see where we need to get to.”

McKim is convinced the demands of pre-season will be particularly helpful to his younger players.

“The boys are learning a lot about themselves,” he said. “You’ve got to be at it for 90 minutes against these teams because, if you’re not at it, you get punished.

“We’ve learned a couple of lessons in the last few weeks.”

Burgh and Renfrew have now discovered who their opponents will be on the opening day of the WoSFL season after league officials released a fixture list.

McKim’s men will be in Conference A and kick things off with a trip to Muirkirk Juniors, while Maryhill are pencilled in as the first visitors of the season to Keanie Park.

Burgh then travel to Lesmahagow, followed by home games against Bellshill Athletic and Maybole.

Renfrew, who are in Conference B, will take on Royal Albert at New Western Park in their curtain-raiser before making a trip to Thorniewood.

Colin Clark’s men then welcome Kello Rovers before they are on the road again to face Port Glasgow.

A home clash with St Cadoc’s rounds off Renfrew’s first five games.

Fans are welcome at tonight’s game against Clydebank, with kick-off at 7pm.