JOHNSTONE Burgh manager Jamie McKim hopes that fans will never be locked out of stadiums again after clubs opened their doors for their pre-season campaigns last month.

After more than a year of supporters not being permitted entry, Keanie Park has played host to six friendlies this summer, with more to come, as McKim looks to get his troops ready for the upcoming season.

Clubs such as Auchinleck Talbot, Clydebank and Cumnock have all made the trip to Johnstone in recent weeks ahead of the first league matches next month – and the Burgh boss believes that having fans in attendance does not increase the risk of Covid.

Speaking to Gazette Sport, he said: “It’s brilliant having fans back in. It just shows you shouldn’t be playing without them.

“It’s safe, outdoors and everyone is distanced so for me there’s no reason why it should be like that again.”

Burgh were unfortunate to lose out to Clydebank last Wednesday as they were beaten by a Nicky Little goal, before a 4-2 loss against Glasgow Perthshire on Saturday.

McKim’s side are next in action this evening against Vale of Leven at Millburn before Kirkintilloch Rob Roy visit Keanie Park on Saturday.

Renfrew have also been in action with a 2-1 loss against West Park United and a 5-1 defeat to Bonnyton.

Colin Clark’s troops will now welcome Neilston to New Western Park on Saturday with spectators welcome and the game kicking off at 2pm.

Elsewhere, the future of Johnstone Burgh and Renfrew’s under-20 sides could be in danger after the Scottish FA made the decision not to allow 2001 born players to compete in this season’s Lowlands Development League.

The proposal was put forward in February but only knocked back on Friday, leaving 483 young footballers in the vital stage of their development, their last season in development football before being either released or signed by the clubs first-team, in limbo just weeks before the season was due to start.

The Scottish Lowlands Development Football League had hoped that those born in 2001 who missed out on a full year of playing last season due to the pandemic would still be allowed to take part in the upcoming campaign.

A statement from the SLDFL said: “Following our meeting with members clubs last night who are affected by the 21s rules change proposal being rejected by the PGB [Professional Game Board], we have today written to the SFA asking if they would reconsider this.

“We feel strongly that these young men deserve the opportunity to play in the Development League after missing out last year due to the global pandemic, after all these are unprecedented times we are living in.”