Billy Dodds doesn’t see the impact of Covid leaving Scottish football any time soon.
The Caley Thistle head coach, whose side host Peterhead in their Premier Sports Cup opener tonight, takes charge of his first competitive game.
Three opening fixtures were wiped out as clubs had to forfeit their opening ties on Saturday, with Ross County’s trip to Forfar off due to positive Covid results at the Dingwall club. That led to a 3-0 result for the Loons.
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Dodds admits: “Covid will affect football and I have been reading what other managers have said, Paul Hartley being one of them. We are going to face his Cove side.
“Covid will be part of football for a period to come. We are going to have to deal with it and be vigilant and be sure we stay clear of it.
“If we do, we can have our players available but it will affect most teams. It’s okay saying we shouldn’t do this or that, it will affect the whole of Scottish football, as other managers have said.”
The Caledonian Stadium welcomes up to 1000 fans back for the Peterhead match this evening.
The ultimate goal is to see stands busy with fans when it is safe in Scotland and Dodds says seeing England and Italy fans lapping up the action at Wembley on Sunday was fantastic.
He said: “I was at Peterhead v Hearts on Saturday and there was social distancing over the two stands, but it was great just to hear voices at football again.
“It’s good for the managers because the players can hear you and they have no excuses, but it is good to hear the fans, whether it’s giving the refs a bit of stick or the managers, a couple of players – that’s part of football.
“I am like anyone else. Players, coaches and chairmen will tell you the fans are the lifeblood of the game and we need them back. When you see the fans at the Euro 2020 final, it’s great to see full stadia again.”
Staying as safe as can be within football clubs
Caley Thistle have had Covid within the camp this year and Dodds believes that staying alert and wise to the situation is key.
He added: “Normality is still a wee bit a way and that’s why I say we all need to be vigilant at the club. We can’t rest and say ‘that’s it done now, we’ll just crack on’.
“It’s about doing the right things in terms of training and social distancing, playing your games and staying free of Covid as much as you can.
“I still think it is part of the game and I’m sure you’ll still see in the coming weeks and months there will be more clubs who will have to handle it. That’s the way it is.”