Johnstone Burgh seal promotion as Murdo MacKinnon praises six-in-a-row heroes

Johnstone Burgh celebrate winning promotion
Johnstone Burgh celebrate winning promotion -Credit:Johnstone Burgh FC

Murdo MacKinnon saluted his Johnstone Burgh stars after six wins in the space of just a fortnight secured promotion to the West of Scotland League Premier Division.

It was party time for the Keanie Park club on Tuesday night as victory over Maybole sealed their place in next season’s top flight.

Boss MacKinnon has enjoyed a perfect start since being announced the permanent replacement for Jamie McKim – picking up 18 points in 14 days.

And he credited the players for their efforts as Burgh’s form surge came at just the right time to get the job done.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” MacKinnon told Burgh’s social media channels after the game.

“The boys have been brilliant and this is what the club wanted – to go back up to the Premier Division.

“Since I’ve come in, the boys have been unbelievable so I am delighted for them and delighted for everyone around the club. It’s a great achievement.

“We’ve won six games in a row and I’ve not been with many teams that have been able to do that. The boys showed the character and desire and got together to make sure they went out and got those victories. All credit to them.

“We will enjoy the moment. We’ve still got two games to finish the season and we want to continue with the good standards we’ve been showing and win those games as well.

“The supporters were brilliant and the boys were celebrating with them at the end which was good to see.

“There have been tough times and we’ve been up and down this season. But we’ve come through in the end and got the club into the Premier Division. This is the first step for us and we’re absolutely over the moon.”

Burgh travelled to South Ayrshire to face a Maybole side with plenty to play for themselves given they have still to confirm First Division status and it was the hosts who took the lead in the 13th minute at Ladywell Stadium.

However, there was no panic in the Burgh ranks and an equaliser was plundered eight minutes later with Stuart McCann finding the top corner of the net from just inside the box.

Nerves settled, MacKinnon’s men regrouped and made the best possible start to the second half. It took just two minutes after the restart before Blair Rossiter hit the target to give Burgh a narrow advantage.

Back came Maybole, though, as they made it 2-2 in the 62nd minute.

Only a win would seal promotion for the Renfrewshire outfit and they took a huge step towards clinching victory when Kieran Brophy netted.

Two minutes later, it was pretty much game over as Burgh went 4-2 up through McCann to send the travelling support into raptures.

The final whistle lifted the pressure off Burgh, who were red-hot favourites to be promoted after significant investment, and sparked scenes of celebration both on the pitch and in the dressing room.

MacKinnon knows Burgh will be making a big step up after the summer break having bossed Cumnock and Pollok in the Premier.

“I know what the standard is like and it will be tough as well,” he added. “It’s really difficult and there are a lot of good teams and a lot of good players.”

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