Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley has been heartened by the return of fans to Scottish stadiums, even if they are in reduced numbers.
League One outfit Cove have had supporters back for Premier Sports Cup games against Stirling Albion and Inverness, while also playing in front of crowds at Tynecastle and Balmoor.
With Scotland moving into Level 0 on Monday, crowds of up to 2,000 people are allowed into stadiums. This may be increased further next month.
Capacities had been capped at 500 prior to that, while Cove also received a small allocation of tickets for the game at Balmoor last weekend.
“It’s nice just to see people in the ground again,” said Hartley. “It’s getting people a bit of normality. It’s affected a lot of people mentally.
“People like going to football. Young people, middle-aged people, old people. It’s important for them, not just for the players. It’s important for the football club – it’s been difficult for a lot of clubs to plan because they’re still not sure what they can and can’t get in.”
Cove have a free weekend this weekend, having played their last League Cup game against the Caley Jags on Tuesday. Their next game is their League One opener against Falkirk on July 31.
The third tier was the most competitive division in Scotland last season and Hartley sees little reason for that to change.
He added: “The big one on the 31st is what we’re planning for. It’s a good opening day fixture in a tough league. I’ve seen quite a few of the teams so far and it’s going to be tough.
“People talk about the Championship – I think ours is going to be as competitive as it ever has been. It was the tightest league in Scotland last year and I expect the same again.
“Everybody has strengthened, so it’s important you start well. We’ll keep our fingers crossed everything goes OK this season.”
Cove have been made favourites for the League One title by some bookmakers, something Hartley is not on board with.
He said: “I don’t buy into that. That’s nothing to look into for us. We don’t care – we just look at how we perform game by game.”