Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson insists running out at a near-empty Pittodrie on Boxing Day will be hard to take.
The Dons play their final game of 2021 on Sunday when Dundee visit the Granite City.
The Boxing Day fixture is traditionally well attended, as family and friends reunite by using a rare opportunity to get together by going to watch their local team.
Aberdeen is no different, but with the Scottish Government capping attendance at just 500 due to rising Covid cases clubs face a return to near closed-doors football this weekend.
As a result of those restrictions being put in place, Premiership clubs will bring forward the winter break, leading to Aberdeen’s matches against Rangers and Ross County being rescheduled.
Ferguson is sad to see fans locked out again after welcoming them back to grounds this season.
He said: “It’s going to be difficult. It’s tough times at the minute. Football for a lot of people is a way of life and it’s getting taken away from everybody.
“It’s a hard time for everybody involved in football at the minute. We managed to get used to it last season and it’s great to have everyone back in this season.
“To have it taken away is disappointing, but hopefully it does not affect our performances on the pitch. We’re professional and we’ll look to go and win these games.
“For everybody involved, it’s a sore one to take. It’s not good for the players as well.”
Energy levels in absence of ill skipper Brown a cause for concern
The roar of the fans would have been the perfect pick-me-up for an Aberdeen side smarting from a midweek defeat to Hibernian in Edinburgh.
The 1-0 loss resulted in Stephen Glass’ side relinquishing their top six place after a three-game winning run with the Dons boss bemoaning the lethargic showing at Easter Road.
Ferguson does not dispute his manager’s assertion it was a poor performance and believes the absence of captain Scott Brown due to illness was a factor in the defeat.
He said: “I don’t know why (the energy levels were poor) because we’ve not played for a while. It shouldn’t be the case, it’s a strange one.
“They felt a wee bit different, but that shouldn’t happen. We’re professionals and fit boys and we should be ready for these challenges.
“I enjoy taking on that leadership, but I would rather have Scott Brown playing.
“I thought we missed him, we missed that sort of presence that he brings.
“We missed him on the pitch and in the dressing room, he is that type of guy you miss when he’s not there. He drives the boys on.”
Set-piece goal tough to take for Dons
Despite not being anywhere near their best, the Dons left Edinburgh disappointed with nothing to show for their efforts with the loss of the only goal of the game from a corner a particular source of disappointment for the squad.
Ferguson said: “It’s a hard one to take, I don’t think we deserved to win the game, but I don’t think we deserved to lose it.
“To lose it on a set piece is really disappointing. I thought in the first half we were okay, but we never managed to kick on in the second half.
“We really should not lose that game on a set-piece.
“We’ve been really good in the last few games, really fluid, getting on the ball and getting into good areas and getting chances. Sometimes that just doesn’t happen.
“Maybe Hibs defended really well against our front players, so you have to give them credit, and maybe our front players weren’t at it.
“You have nights like that and when you do you need to keep it tight at the back and see the game out.”