Premiership clubs continue to make progress with measures to secure the safe return of supporters, according to Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes.
That is despite First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday confirming a delay of at least three weeks for the return of fans to Scottish sports stadia.
The first minister announced the return of supporters in Scotland is delayed until October 5 at the earliest.
The previously-indicated date of September 14 for the return of supporters has been pushed back due to rising Covid-19 cases.
There were concerns this weekend’s test event at Pittodrie – where 300 season ticket-holders will be granted access for the clash with Kilmarnock – could subsequently be scrapped.
However, the Pittodrie test event, and the similar attendance of 300 fans at Ross County’s home clash with Celtic, were given the go-ahead.
McInnes accepts the onus is on the Dons and Ross County to prove football’s progress and insists Aberdeen have gone above and beyond current protocol within society to ensure they operate within a biosecure bubble.
McInnes said: “Professionally, the way the clubs are, progress is still being made.
“We have got to demonstrate that over the next few weeks.
“So we’re delighted to get the opportunity to have some supporters in on Saturday.
“As we’ve been quite stringent with all the testing in football, a degree of confidence has been given on that side of it.
“But then you see what’s happening, in general, in certain areas of Glasgow and Renfrewshire.
“There are still going to be areas that are affected and that’s going to be ongoing.
“It was Aberdeen a few weeks ago with a cluster.
“There will be different areas at different times.
“While that is still there, I can understand maybe a nervousness about giving more leeway to professional sport.
“We’re just hoping that we can deal with the game on Saturday, in terms of the off-the-pitch stuff to get supporters in.
“We’re confident we can provide that, show that and do that safely.
“Hopefully then that encourages, in the not-so-distant future, starting to get bigger numbers in as par for the course.”
Further possible pilots will be judged on a “case-to-case basis”
The first minister stressed October 5 for the return of supporters to Scottish sporting stadia is an “indicative date” and that a final decision on that will be taken closer to the time.
McInnes said: “If we can keep giving confidence on the professional part of it to the government, supporters, and the general public, then hopefully supporters will feel comfortable about coming to the stadium, just as they have been able to go about their own business.
“The more the schools go back, universities go back, people go back to their workplaces, then hopefully it will give everyone the encouragement to get people back into stadiums.
“We’d welcome that, but we understand there is a fine balance.”
Those 300 fortunate enough to get the golden ticket via the ballot will have to wear face masks throughout and shouting or singing is banned.
Aberdeen suffered a major setback last month when eight players broke coronavirus protocol by visiting a city centre bar following the 1-0 loss to Rangers.
All eight were heavily fined by the club and subsequently handed a suspended three-game ban by the Scottish FA.
McInnes said the Dons have stringent measures in place.
He said: “We’ve got a general questionnaire for everybody who comes into the training ground.
“They don’t get in unless it’s been filled in. That’s always been the case.
“We’ve had to send out our own club protocols on the back of what the general public has been able to do over the last few weeks, but we’ve actually asked for a bit more than that from everybody who is in our bubble.
“We’ve tried to be a bit more demanding of them when they’re not here.
“Nobody’s perfect and our club has had our own challenges.
“We’ve been very stringent with loads of the testing.
“I think football has to put its best foot forward.”