Johnstone Burgh manager Jamie McKim has praised Thomas Cruden for stepping up to the mark as he found the net again on Saturday.

Cruden scored one and set up another as the Keanie Park side returned to winning ways with three points against Thorniewood United.

Ally Small headed the visitors in front after just five minutes but Burgh responded through a devastating counter-attack that was finished off by Kieran Brophy on 13 minutes.

The winner arrived on 54 minutes when Cruden got in down the left and raced towards goal before beating the goalkeeper at his near post for his third goal in three games.

It’s eight goals across the season now for the attacker and McKim knows he is always capable of finding the net, even when he’s not at his best.

Speaking to Gazette Sport, he said: “The reaction after the first 10 minutes was great because we went on to dominate the game.

“I thought we looked more likely to add a third towards the end of the game but when it’s that tight there is every chance you can concede. It wasn’t as comfortable as I would have liked but the most important thing was to get over the line.

“We set Thomas a wee challenge last month and spoke to him about extending his contract.

“His performances haven’t been outstanding but he’s hitting the net time and time again which is really important at this level.

“He has been on a good vein of form, but even when he drops off, and his level of performance drops off, he is still providing goals and assists. 

“He got a goal and an assist at the weekend, so he has been really important for us.”

Under-20s goalkeeper Lee Kilbride made his first start for the club after injuries to first-team goalkeeper Glen Cameron and Lee Mitchell in recent weeks and McKim was impressed with the young shot-stoppers debut between the sticks.

He said: “Lee Kilbride from the development team came in goals after Lee Mitchell got injured during the week so we had the other 20s goalkeeper on the bench, and he also got injured in the warm-up.

“We’ve not had a goalkeeping injury in the five years that I have been here and now we get three in four weeks. I’ve never seen anything like it.

“Lee Kilbride got the club’s man of the match on Saturday. That’s not to say he was really busy but his handling, kicking and coming for crosses, from someone who was making his first start, was brilliant.”

Burgh travel to Hannah Park to take on Shotts Bon Accord this Saturday. Kick-off is at 2pm.