DUMBARTON’S players have returned to the training pitch for the first time in nearly six months – but boss Jim Duffy says he plans to take his time getting his players up to speed ahead of the new campaign.

Duffy led his players through their first session since March last week after clubs across the country were given permission to resume full contact training – and was keen to make sure everyone adhered to social distancing guidelines.

The 61-year-old was keen not to rush his players back in after an extended amount of time off, and wanted to make sure his squad were all familiar with the new guidelines and procedures they are expected to follow.

Speaking to the Reporter, he said: “We haven’t gone into full contact yet and are just giving ourselves a week to get the legs going, get back involved again and have a touch of the ball.

“I wanted to make sure everybody was okay and understood the rules – getting temperature checks, going in and out the right entrances, and all these kinds of things.

“It was my choice. I just decided we’d give ourselves a week of learning the ropes and that’s what we’ve done.”

The former Morton boss added that he plans to move into full contact sessions from today [Tuesday].

He continued: “The players have been off for such a long time. They were obviously going on runs and things that keeps them in good shape, which is important.

“But when you’re doing things as intense as pre-season, you want to try and bed them in, so the first week was all about that and just taking small steps to get themselves back up to speed.

“There were periods where there was hard work, but we’re not cramming everything into four weeks - we’ve given ourselves six weeks to try and just slowly get the players up to speed.

“From next week we’ll probably do a little more competitive training.”

Sons returned to training in the midst of last week’s torrential wind and rain, and Duffy was left frustrated with the weather after not being able to play throughout the summer months.

He said: “I think it was Storm Francis last week and you’re thinking ‘oh my goodness, this is going to be horrendous, all the summer you’ve missed and then this on the first night back’.

“The difficulties are that you get soaked but you can’t go in for a shower after and that kind of stuff.

“It wouldn’t have been very pleasant for the players on the way home, but these are the rules we have to follow just now, and we understand them and just get on with them.

“The players, to their credit, realise that and deal with that.”