Although he was thrilled the 2020-21 season started Inverurie Locos manager Andy Low believes the decision to suspend the Highland League again was correct.
It’s almost a year since the Covid-19 pandemic hit and led to major changes in football and life.
After the initial lockdown last March it was October before any Highland League side returned to competitive action with Brora Rangers playing in the Betfred Cup before the Cattachs, Buckie Thistle, Formartine United and Rothes completed the 2019-20 Highland League Cup.
The 2020-21 campaign eventually began on November 28 before being suspended again – along with all other football below the Championship – on January 11.
With Covid-19 cases across the country escalating Locos boss Low believes that was the right call, particularly when those involved in football at lower levels all have jobs away from the game.
He said: “I always felt the season would start, but I felt it would probably have been January this year to allow a few more weeks.
“But if that had happened we wouldn’t have got going so it was good that we did get going in November.
“There was a sense of normality within the pre-season that we did and when we started playing cup and league games there was a sense of normality and enjoyment.
“The players and coaches were enjoying it and I felt safe at the time.
“But as things went on there was something that didn’t feel right and people were having to make sacrifices in their lives and for us to be going out as part-time footballers when we’ve all got employment over and above that, it didn’t feel quite right that we should have been put in that bracket to keep going.
“I would have kept on doing it because I love football, but if you’re asking me if I felt it was the right thing for us to keep going (in January)? I didn’t, I thought the most sensible decision was to stop.”
Since the suspension of lower league football in January some figures within the game have been vocal in their calls for it to return, with Leagues One and Two set to resume next weekend.
Highland League clubs are also set to feature in the Scottish Cup later this month, but it is not clear what will happen to the Highland League season.
Low appreciates the benefits of football, but can see why it has yet to return at the lower levels.
The Harlaw Park gaffer added: “I find myself agreeing with everyone because I’ve heard reasons for and against continuing to play and they are all good reasons.
“Football is good for mental health and having that sense of normality in your life, but there are good points against continuing to play and find myself agreeing with both sides.
“My opinion is that the right decision was made to stop in January, I hope that can change and we can get back to playing football.
“But I think there are more important things than that to come first such as kids being put back to schools.”