Caley Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner feels football will have an uplifting role to play in the coming weeks after Scotland was placed into lockdown.
Gardiner admits he had feared the worst for the consequences Scottish football would face prior to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s address to parliament on Monday, which ordered the public to stay at home for the rest of this month.
Updated government guidance has since stated that those “involved in professional sports, for training, coaching or competing in an event” will be permitted to leave their homes.
With the last lockdown in March ultimately resulting in the curtailment of last season, Gardiner is relieved the game will be able to carry on without further disruption.
He said: “Prior to the announcement I was extremely pessimistic, I was fearing the worst.
“We were waiting to see if things would be tightened, or how it would affect us.
“As far as we know, the game is going to carry on.
“Everybody was concerned about it. I had a meeting with John Robertson on Monday and the situation was that we were waiting on the announcement from Holyrood, and then to see what ripples would come out of that from the joint response group.
“We are very happy. As a club we have gone into lockdown to a degree on the public front, because nobody is allowed to come into the stadium. We have to fall back into that March, April, May vibe where nobody is allowed to come in.
“John has asked me some practical questions but as far as we know it doesn’t affect the operation of our football department, from our training to our players’ rehabilitation.
“Effectively we are a club operating on about two thirds capacity.”
Although Caley Jags will not be able to host crowds for the foreseeable future, Gardiner hopes the online streaming of matches will keep supporters engaged with John Robertson’s side.
Gardiner added: “I think it does make a difference to people’s mental state. At least they can still watch the games on a Saturday now, everyone is now in a position where they can do that. The season ticket holders have access to the home games and they can pay to watch away games.
“It’s not normal but it’s something people can look forward to, so I’m pleased about it.
“People can’t go out, they can’t go to concerts or watch concerts any more.
“At least people watching football on their TV or laptop is what people are used to doing. It would be more difficult for everybody if there wasn’t football.
“It’s working well now. We had some teething problems, but touchwood it’s now working well.
“At least supporters are able to watch their team. The players in the main have got used to it, although I’m not saying they are happy about it.
“For everybody’s wellbeing, including the players and staff, we all feared the worst and we are all still playing so long may it continue.”
Gardiner says Caley Jags’ football department will continue to follow protocols strictly, with players under instruction to record every place they have been in a diary which is provided to the club.
Gardiner added: “Life carries on away from the ground and the football bubble. There are still issues that are going to crop up.
“Some of the richest teams in the world are having the same issues in England.
“All our protocols are very good, but I think it’s life that will interfere with those.
“Everyone knows the drill now, and everyone is following everything.
“The players have diaries they have to hand in with where they have been, and it’s just part of our own regime.
“They are not time sheets, it’s more like our own version of track and trace. We started this at the start of the season.
“The boys have got used to jotting down where they were that day, and it allows us to give advice.
“In the event of something happening, it’s another backup.”