NEILSTON co-boss Derek Carson admits he was “buzzing” as fans returned to the Brig O’Lea for the first time in 16 months.

The Farmer’s Boys opened their gates to supporters as they played host to Glenvale on Saturday in a pre-season friendly.

It was the first time the Neilston faithful had been able to cheer on their team since February 2020 – and they were rewarded with a comfortable 4-0 victory.

Carson told Barrhead Sport: “It was brilliant to be back. The boys had been buzzing all week and knowing there was going to be fans in meant it was almost back to normality.

“Being able to get into the changing rooms was good and there was a decent crowd.

“It’s what we’ve been waiting on for a long time. I’m sure every club that played on Saturday felt the same. It was good to get back on that football pitch and have people watching.”

An early strike by debutant Fraser McLaughlin sent Neilston on their way against Glenvale and the other three goals were all scored via the penalty spot, with Conor Bolger, Jamie Docherty and Dylan Fletcher on target.

Saturday was Neilston’s first game since December and, whilst there were elements of the performance that frustrated Carson, he was pleased to see his team score a number of goals and keep a clean sheet.

He said: “We scored after 22 seconds but then fell away a wee bit and started doing stuff we don’t normally do.

“We regrouped at half-time and told the boys to get back to the way we like playing, get the ball moving quickly and get into the box as much as possible. They did that in the second half and got three penalties.

“We’ve got a few boys in the team who are confident taking penalties, so it was good to see them all score.

“Conor is probably our penalty-taker going forward and he scored the first but he wasn’t on the park for the other two, so it was good to see the strikers taking a penalty each and getting on the scoresheet as well.”

Carson and his squad can now look forward to a derby double-header with local rivals Arthurlie.

The first game takes place at the Brig O’Lea on Saturday, before the return leg at Dunterlie Park on June 19, with the Kenny Hay Trophy up for grabs.

A maximum of 250 fans can attend each fixture, with supporters admitted on a first come, first served basis. Kick-off on Saturday is at 2pm.