HELENSBURGH FC manager Sam Gemmell admits he was pleased with his side’s performance against Vale of Leven Amateurs, despite defeat, as they returned to the pitch for competitive action for the first time in over a year last Wednesday.

Burgh started well and took the lead in the Spring Cup tie through George McConnell’s close range strike but the visitors hit back with three goals in the final 15 minutes of the half to swing the game in their favour.

Gemmell’s side looked to tighten up after the break but his tired troops lost another couple of goals before James Cameron added a consolation.

The Burgh boss was pleased with elements of his sides showing and expects they will only get better as match fitness continues to improve.

Speaking to the Advertiser, he said: “Although defeated it was a decent performance with some players playing their first game in over 18 months.

“The performance in the first part of the game surprised us all.

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“I respect the way the lads took the game to the visitors. However, you can train all day but it’s matches you need to get under your belt and when the lungs started to hurt and the legs burned it was always going to be an uphill battle.”

Helensburgh were then set to make the trip to South Lochaber on Saturday in the second of their Spring Cup ties but the game was postponed.

The Highland region side were denied access to the park that they let, and despite both sides looking to get the game switched to Hermitage Academy, it was not possible.

Gemmell’s side would have been entitled to simply take three points from the game as their home side could not supply a venue, but he feels that wouldn’t have been right as they now prepare to welcome Oban Saints to the town this weekend.

He said: “They asked us to switch it down to Helensburgh which we agreed to, but then the management of the Lochaber team informed us that due to the late change of venue they couldn’t get enough lads down to play the game.

“We decided against the option of claiming the points as both clubs have a good relationship but we did ask that the fixture was reversed as we felt that there was still some doubt if a park would be available for them up there and we didn’t want to cancel travel arrangements again.”

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