Banks o’ Dee co-manager Tommy Forbes is ready to move on from the disappointment of last season’s junior campaign being declared null and void.
The Spain Park side were 14 points clear at the top of the McBookie.com North Region Super League with a perfect record from 16 games and well on course for a fifth successive title.
But, when football was suspended by the pandemic, the 32 clubs in the North Region voted 19-13 to declare the season null-and-void rather than finishing by the standings in the leagues as of March 7 or on a points per game basis.
The decision was in contrast to the one taken in the West Region Premiership, where Auchinleck Talbot were crowned champions on average points, despite sitting third.
But, ahead of the junior season getting back under way this weekend, Forbes insists his side’s full focus is on making a winning start to the 2020-21 season with a victory at Aberdeen East End in the Grill League Cup.
He said: “What happened last season was frustrating, but we are over that now.
“It was a strange one when we saw other junior teams being crowned champions in other regions.
“We had won 16 games out of 16, whereas in other leagues it was quite tight and they were still declaring winners, such as Auchinleck Talbot.
“But we have to move on.
“We will be playing the Grill League Cup section right through until Christmas and then we will move into a regionalised league set-up.
“The top teams will go into quarter-finals and whoever wins the final will represent the juniors in the Scottish Cup.
“But we are a licenced club, so we get into the Scottish Cup anyway.
“There will be no promotion or relegation either, but we just have to get on with it.”
Banks o’ Dee will host Lowland League outfit Vale of Leithen in preliminary round two of the Scottish Cup on December 12.
Forbes said: “We got the home draw we were looking for. That is a bonus.
“We will look forward to that and hopefully we can get through. It would be great to go on a run in the competition.
“We aren’t sure what will happen with the Scottish Junior Cup. It might take place next year, but I’m not sure if that will happen.”
Forbes hopes it won’t be long before spectators are permitted to return to football grounds, having experienced his first competitive game without a crowd in last week’s 2-1 Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup defeat against Buckie Thistle at Spain Park.
He added: “Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to get crowds back into games.
“It is surreal playing games without anybody watching.
“It is very strange, but we are getting more used to it as we have had nine pre-season games and the Aberdeenshire Cup game.
“We managed to get into the changing rooms last Saturday, which was good.
“We were in the home and away dressing rooms and Buckie were upstairs in one of the areas in the club.
“The players can’t use the showers just now, but hopefully that is the next thing.
“Hopefully we can get the fans back as that would make a big difference.”
This weekend’s fixtures are as follows:
LEAGUE CUP – West Section, Group One: Islavale v Burghead Thistle, Nairn St Ninian v Dufftown.
Group Two: Forres Thistle v Deveronside, Whitehills v New Elgin.
Banff and Buchan Section, Group One: Colony Park v Buchanhaven Hearts, Maud v Cruden Bay.
Group Two: Ellon United v Fraserburgh United, Rothie Rovers v Longside.
Aberdeen Section, Group One: Hall Russell United v Stonehaven, Hermes v Aberdeen University.
Group Two: Aberdeen East End v Banks o’ Dee, Sunnybank v Newmachar United.
Group Three: Stoneywood Parkvale v Culter.
Group Four: Glentanar v Banchory St Ternan.