Cove Rangers chairman Keith Moorhouse is hoping for a “sense of normality” when the new Scottish football season gets under way.
There is hope the 2021-22 campaign, which will begin with the Premier Sports Cup in July, can deliver clubs a much-needed sense of stability on and off the park.
League seasons should be able to be played to their fullest, rather than the reduced fixture lists which had to be imposed this season.
Also, with fans able to return for the play-off games at the end of the season, clubs will now have hope of a more regular income from spectators.
“The biggest hope for next season is a sense of normality, in terms of what a normal football season looks like, feels like, smells like, sounds like,” said Moorhouse, whose Cove team finished third in League One this season.
“Having fans back in the ground, people in our hospitality – it’ll be good to see them again. But right now we’ve no idea what that looks like.
“Our biggest hope is it feels like a proper season and that’s for everybody. I’ve watched a lot of games on streams and it’s not the same.
“I’ve been fortunate I’ve been able to see some of our games this year – I’ve not been able to see all of them – but we have to abide by the rules that are put in place.”
Cove, like every other club in the land, has had to deal with the financial uncertainty and stringent regulations that come with trying to play during a global pandemic.
Protocols, social-distancing, masks; everything expected of the public in wider society has their necessity amplified when people are in close quarters.
“The most challenging part has been dealing with the protocols and the impact of them,” added Moorhouse. “No-one has experienced this before, so there’s no-one you can go to for advice.
“We obviously used the authorities and talked to them a bit, but it was new to them as well.
“The guys and the squad were brilliant and did things the right way. Like most other teams we tackled it head on and got on with it.
“Financially it was challenging but we’re no different to any other club. We found a way to operate that got us the right side of the budget.”
Cove continued to make progress on the park despite the challenges faced, and were minutes away from the Championship play-off final.
Paul Hartley’s side were in title contention in League One heading into the split and finished third, on the back of promotion the season before.
Moorhouse added: “There was a lot of good football played this year, despite what we had to go through. But we’re still in League One and that’s the bit we have to learn from.
“It’s vital we’ve got something to aim for. In that way, everyone is on the same page. We’ve all got a shared objective and working towards the same one. That’s been a big part of our success.”