Buckie Thistle chairman Garry Farquhar reckons the Scottish Cup tie against Caley Thistle has lost some of its spark because of Covid-19.
The latest round of restrictions across the country have called into question whether professional sport should continue, with it given dispensation for the time being to be played.
Supporters will not be able to attend the second round tie at Victoria Park, which would have likely attracted a bumper crowd if fans were permitted into grounds.
Buckie beat Albion Rovers 3-0 to get to this stage, an impressive result in dumping out an SPFL side from the league above.
However, some of the shine of drawing Inverness – 55 miles along the road – in the next round has been taken off the game.
Farquhar said: “It’s not ideal preparations at the moment. Training is limited to a minimum for safety reasons, but I imagine everyone is in the same boat.
“Under the circumstances, it is difficult to get excited. Playing without supporters, there’s no real home advantage; it’s a completely different setup.
Scottish Cup 2nd Round Jags v Inverness Caley Thistle Sat 9th January 🇳🇬💚🇳🇬
“There would ordinarily be a massive crowd at Victoria Park. It would be a big thing. The current conditions nullify it. It’s disappointing to get a draw like this and it be a closed-doors game.”
The game was not picked up by broadcasters for television, with the BBC instead choosing to show Queen’s Park’s game with Queen of the South and Dundee’s home tie with Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.
Farquhar concedes it is unlikely, then, for the game to be shown live.
He added: “I’m not sure what’s available under the SFA guidelines. We spoke to Inverness about streaming it, but they have a system installed (for home games) and can’t afford to do it for us.
“I thought it might be attractive for TV, with the proximity of Buckie and Inverness, but that’s not the case.”
The Highland League looks set to continue as normal despite the latest restrictions put in place by the Scottish Government. Farquhar, however, is not convinced it will stay that way.
He said: “I don’t know what the league will look at – (could they) put things to a halt with the current lockdown?
“We’ve got the grace of being professional sport, but we’re still putting guys at risk travelling across the north of Scotland. It’s also looking less and less likely fans will be back this season, although it was never that optimistic anyway.”