JOHNSTONE Burgh boss Jamie McKim insists he has no fears about throwing players from the development squad into the first team as he prepares for the return to competitive action this weekend.

The new West of Scotland Football League (WoSFL) season kicks off on Saturday, with Burgh making the journey to Burnside Park for a clash with Muirkirk Juniors before welcoming Maryhill to Keanie Park next Wednesday.

A number of injuries mean McKim may have to bring in some players from Burgh’s Under-20s to negotiate the first few fixtures – but he is confident they are up to the task.

He told Gazette Sport: “We’re carrying loads of knocks and we’ve still got a boy in isolation but we’re as well prepared as we can be.

“Covid is still having an effect on us. It will be difficult but, with the first team being so strong and the development team behind them looking really strong as well, I think we’ll be in better shape than a lot of teams.

“I’m happy with the way that we’re looking and let’s just hope for a good start.

“There’s a lot of strength in depth at the moment, with a good pool of first team players and a really strong development squad.”

Burgh rounded off their pre-season campaign on Saturday with a comfortable 4-0 win over Kello Rovers, as Ricky McArthur, Sam Esplin, Nathan Marriot and Jason Hardie all found the net.

And there was a special guest in attendance as the club invited loyal supporter Tommy McDonald to Keanie Park to celebrate his 70th birthday.

Tommy, a resident at The Firs care home, in Barrhead, is a lifelong Burgh fan and was treated to an afternoon of hospitality before meeting the squad and being presented with his own shirt.

McKim said it was an honour to have Tommy in attendance.

“That’s what this club is about, we’ve got a great relationship with the community,” he added.

“Tommy has been a supporter for a long time but I don’t think he had been to Keanie Park for a while. Some of the carers from the nursing home got in touch last week and we were just delighted to do our bit.

“We hope he enjoyed his birthday and it was our pleasure to help out.”

Renfrew completed their pre-season campaign with a 0-0 draw against Troon and welcome Royal Albert to New Western Park on Saturday.