Jim McInally believes the return of fans in the Highlands and Moray is good for Scottish football.
However, Scotland’s longest manager is unsure as to whether the clubs involved will benefit financially and he does not hold out much hope for supporters being able to return at Peterhead any time soon.
With the Highlands and Moray in Tier 1 of the Scottish Government’s coronavirus restriction system Ross County’s Premiership fixture with Livingston tonight will be watched by 300 fans.
Inverness Caley Thistle and Elgin City will also be able to let 300 supporters into home games, while 11 of the Highland League’s 17 clubs can also open the gates when their season starts on November 28.
Blue Toon boss McInally said: “Getting 300 fans in would matter to us that’s for sure, but how much it will matter to Ross County I’m not sure because they’ll have 300 season ticket holders who will have paid their money.
“It’s the same for Inverness and may even be the same for Elgin so it might not really bring in any money.
“I think for the sake of Scottish football and for the games as a spectacles it will be good to have people there, but will 300 make a difference to the clubs? I’m not so sure.
“But for the sake of football it is good. The way things are with zones and tiers I’m not sure if it will make any difference to us because I haven’t seen anything about our tier (Aberdeenshire is in Tier 2) changing.
“If it helps the teams like Ross County, Inverness and Elgin who can do it good luck to them, if it helps the Highland League get started then good luck to them.
“Anything that helps football I’m all for it, I just don’t think it will affect us because we’re in the wrong tier.
“In terms of financially for clubs at our level being allowed 300 if we had some of them as matchday hospitality it would make a massive difference to us and other clubs.”
The Highland League is hoping to reach some kind of agreement with the Scottish Government which would allow the six Aberdeenshire clubs to start the season in front of supporters.
If dispensation was received, or if Aberdeenshire was regraded to Tier 1, it could allow fans to return to Balmoor.
McInally added: “What doesn’t encourage me with that (the Highland League seeking an agreement) is personally I don’t see how the government can make such a big issue out of the different tiers and the regulations within them and then allow people to go and watch football in those tiers where it isn’t allowed.
“But look, good luck to the Highland League I hope they can do it because if they could it would open the door for us to let people in.
“The great Jock Stein said football without fans is nothing and I don’t think there’s been a truer saying in the last few months.”