The Saints goalkeeper was busy early, but confirmed why he picked up the torch from the struggling Fraser Forster last season with the intention to kick on.
Mark Hughes, who was also integral in Southampton’s Premier League survival, handed full debuts to Jan Vestergaard and Stuart Armstrong, as well as Danny Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi.
Despite playing in the Europa League on Thursday, Burnley was lively, as they penned a defensive Southampton into their own half for much of the opening 15 minutes.
Former Saints man Jack Cork ruffled the back of the net inside 10 minutes, only for the goal to ruled offside.
Aaron Lennon then forced an early save from McCarthy after breaking in one-on-one on goal and the keeper would later deny Jeff Hendrick from point-blank just before the half-time whistle.
Hendrick was the benefactor of a gratuitous bounce, as Ben Mee’s attempted overhead kick fell into the path of the Burnley midfielder to turn towards goal — McCarthy, however, ensured the match headed into the break level.
Mario Lemina made Saints lone impact of the first-half when he got his head to Ryan Bertrand’s delivery, but Joe Hart comfortably saved the attempt.
Burnley maintained the pressure they created before the break and Vestergaard, who arrived from Borussia Monchengladbach for a reported £18-million, made a last ditch effort to poke the ball away from the path of Chris Wood.
Despite managing just three half-hearted shots on target, Southampton was nearly gifted an opening goal on the hour when Mee’s header was cleared off the line by teammate Ashley Westwood.
Southampton: McCarthy, Bertrand, Hoedt, Vestergaard, Stephens, Cedric (Elyounoussi 56), Lemina, Romeu, Redmond, Armstrong (Ings 56), Austin (Gabbiadini 73).
Unused subs: Gunn, Bednarek, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse.
Burnley: Hart, Ward, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton, Westwood, Hendrick (Barnes 76), Cork, Gudmundsson, Lennon, Wood (Vokes 73).
Unused subs: Heaton, Taylor, Gibson, Walters, Bardsley.
Bookings: Cork (15).