ST MIRREN manager Jim Goodwin admits that running non-contact training for the first team has proven difficult as players attempt to rebuild their fitness – and joked that if he were still playing, he wouldn’t be able to train.

The Buddies boss had a well-earned reputation as a combative, physical opponent on the park and while he says it will take a while for his charges to get up to speed after around three months without kicking a ball, he is pleased with what he has seen from them so far.

When asked how his players are coping with non-contact training, Goodwin replied: “I wouldn’t have been able to train!”

He continued: “It is very difficult. Any competitive person out there would tell you we do try and put the restraints on them but every now and again, someone gets carried away and that will to win comes in. But the lads have been great, they really have.

“We have tried to keep training as normal as possible. It is not at the intensity of where we need it to be, obviously, because it is only week one. But the players have come back in fantastic condition, they really have.

“They have been looking after themselves, obviously, following the programme properly that the sports science team have sent them out, which is brilliant. It is just about building them back up now. Like any player, and I’m not long out of being a player myself, I know you are desperate to get the balls out, get the small-sided games on the go, and get stuck in.”

Goodwin also expressed his hope that a return to full, regular training would be coming soon – hopefully, he said, as early as next week.

“The guys have been very patient up till now,” he added. “I hope the joint response group and the SFA will lift the restrictions at the end of this week and I hope next week we will be able to crack on as normal.

“We are paying a lot of money for testing. When all of the players and all of the staff are testing negative it doesn’t make any sense to me why we shouldn’t be allowed to go forward with contact.”