Caley Thistle forward James Keatings says the fear of the Championship season failing to finish is hard to avoid given his side’s play-off disappointment last term.
Inverness were denied a shot at promotion to the Premiership after SPFL clubs voted to curtail last season, after the suspension of Scottish football due to Covid-19 in March.
Caley Jags finished the season in second place, however, their route to the top-flight was blocked by the cancellation of the play-offs.
That frustration lingers for attacker Keatings, who is determined to help the Highlanders end their four-year absence from the Premiership.
In light of the latest shutdown of all leagues below the second-tier, Keatings is braced for the worst case scenario.
Keatings said: “Coming off last season, it’s always there in your mind what happened.
“There’s a worry there. The pandemic is still going on, and when you see the news it’s not getting better – it’s getting worse.
“If it comes to it and it’s the best thing for everybody, then so be it.
“We have to put that aside and take what the government and football associates decide.
“We’ve got that fear of whether it will finish. But we have had the green light to continue.
“For us as a team, we have to go out there every Saturday and put as many points on the board and see what position it puts us into.
“The position we were in last year, we were disappointed as we were confident we would have finished second.
“It’s up to us to put ourselves back in that position and hopefully if the season goes the full way we can play those play-offs this year.”
Inverness’ game against Raith Rovers today was called off after the Kirkcaldy outfit reported an outbreak of Covid-19 among players and staff, with the Fifers making a request to the SPFL for the game to be postponed.
Keatings, whose side were permitted to host a limited number of supporters as recently as last month prior to the latest setback, says players must aim to focus on preparing for matches the best they can.
The 28-year-old added: “It’s difficult. In the last few weeks we have had games called off due to the weather, then everything getting piled on top of it.
“We then saw League One and League Two getting stopped, so I was thinking if all Scottish football was going to get stopped with all the things coming out in the papers.
“I feel as if we are taking one step forward and three back.
“It’s just the way it’s gone, it feels as if it’s never going to end at times.
“It’s one of those things where you’re looking over your shoulder and trying to focus, wondering if the next game is going to happen.
“We just try and prepare each day. We have had the green light to continue so we have to knuckle down in training and take in all the information, and make sure we are ready as a team come Saturday.”
Keatings is aware of how the pandemic is affecting the wider world, but says footballers have a duty to act as role models by diligently following the rules set out.
The former Hearts, Hibernian and Hamilton Accies forward added: “I think it’s everybody in the world. I’ve got family doing the exact same thing.
“In lockdown, they are having to work from home and they can’t do certain things. It’s just the way the world is just now.
“It’s not great, but, as a footballer, if you step out of line you know it’s going to be made public. When others do it that’s not really the case, but for us that’s just the career we have.
“We have to make sure we stick by letter of the law and do everything right so we don’t end up in the papers for the wrong reasons.”