The European Championships was one of the first big sporting casualties of the coronavirus pandemic.
When the tournament was pushed back a year it came with a sense of inevitability, given the logistics and travelling involved.
However, to Aberdeen’s Ryan Hedges, it presented a new opportunity. He had been in the Wales camp when they qualified for their second Euros in succession, but found himself out of the Dons’ side after November. The opportunity may have slipped through his grasp.
But the extra 12 months gives him time to make sure he is in manager Ryan Giggs’ plans for the competition, which was a huge part in his move to the Granite City in the first place.
“It is a huge incentive. Signing for Aberdeen that was one of the things in my head.
“Just to be in the squad when they qualified for the Euros was a great feeling. They have games in September, October and November so hopefully I can be in and around the squad again.
“As I was not playing i was probably not going to be going. That was probably something that was really frustrating and was really affecting me that i didn’t really realise. Now I have been given another opportunity.
“Every player has been given another opportunity when you look at Mikey Devlin and Scott McKenna with Scotland. With Northern Ireland, Matty Kennedy and Niall McGinn.
“We all have the opportunity to try to get to the Euros. As a footballer that is a great incentive.”
Had the tournament gone ahead this summer then Hedges may well have found himself on the outside looking in.
He began positively, scoring four goals and contributing eight assists by the end of November, but then he only started three games in the remainder of the season.
Hedges said: “It was an up and down season. I started well and got the goal against Hearts on the first day, which was massive.
“But after Christmas the starts dried up and when that happens the confidence gets dented.
“When you are playing week in week out there is no better feeling, but when you’re out it’s hard to replicate that form.
“But having the break has been good for me, it has allowed me to look at my game, see what I need to improve and get ready to attack this season now.”
After four months without a game, Hedges was relieved to get back on a pitch again.
Aberdeen played their first bounce game last weekend against Ross County in a 2-2 draw, after weeks of training and particularly testing for Covid-19 to ensure a safe return.
Hedges added: “It’s not a nice test but you have to get on with it, it’s a sacrifice you have to make to get back training again.
“The first few weeks we were back were strange, turning up ten minutes before and then straight home again. It felt a bit like when you were ten or twelve, turning up taking a few shots, playing a game and then away again.
“It’s been good to get back after three months away from it, there is a bit of normality back. Training feels like pre-season usually does now, we have been doing the running and the work.
“It’s back to work for us and that’s what we have wanted.”