SALTCOATS Victoria boss Iain McMillan says his players are delighted to be back playing games after a long six months off.

The West of Scotland Conference A club hadn’t played a match since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, after getting the all clear from the WoSFL bosses, the Vics, like many others, ramped up their pre-season schedule on Saturday by playing their first friendly game.

And gaffer McMillan admitted it was joyful to get the matchday experience back.

He told the Herald: “We’re delighted to get back playing again – it’s been a very long six months. The boys have been champing at the bit to get back.

“In terms of what we’re looking to get out of the pre-season games, we’re wanting the new signings to settle in quickly, but overall, it’s all about fitness.

“It’s all about trying to get the entire squad to a level where any one of them could be fully-fit and ready to play come the first game of the season.

“If we can get as many minutes as possible into everybody’s legs then that would be great.

“They’re looking fit and strong in training, but match fitness and sharpness is very much different.

“We would probably have ordinarily liked to get six matches in before the big kick-off.

“We’ll probably not get as many in as we’d have liked but what we’re trying to do is get training games as much as possible.

“It’s getting too dark at night to play midweek games without floodlights so it’s a difficult time of year, but we’ll prepare as best as we can.”

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon dealt Scottish football a blow by announcing that the indicative date for allowing spectators back into sports arenas had been put back until October 5, as opposed to September 14.

McMillan said: “It’s a tricky one. Normally there wouldn’t be many fans turns up to watch a pre-season game anyway.

“What’s important is when the real stuff is back. It’s vitally important for most clubs to get people through the door and have money from gates.”