Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley just wishes fans were able to attend their glamour League Cup opener with Hibs.
The Premiership side visit the Balmoral Stadium on Saturday for the clash which is being televised live by Premier Sports.
However, ordinarily Cove could have expected a sell-out crowd in attendance.
But Covid-19 restrictions mean that isn’t possible and the fixture – like all others in Scotland for the forseeable future – will be played behind closed doors.
Hartley said: “That’s the disappointing thing no fans being able to attend because I think players thrive off supporters.
“We would have had a full house for the game and that’s the disappointing thing.
“You need fans at football – there’s no doubt about it – it’s just not the same.
“I’m not sure if the quality of games has suffered (without fans), but it’s the atmosphere that suffers and the players definitely feed off of the atmosphere. We do need supporters back.”
Hartley insists nobody will expect Cove to cause an upset.
But he has trust in players to make it a challenging afternoon for the Edinburgh outfit.
Hartley, who played for Hibs from 1998 to 2000, added: “I don’t think anybody expects Cove to win. What we want to try to do is put on a good performance, compete as well as we can and then you never know.
“I trust my players and they’ve been excellent since we came in. This is a good occasion for them live on the TV and hopefully they can do well.”
Saturday’s fixture will be the first Cove home game to be screened live on TV.
Hartley believes that is a great thing for the Granite City side as he focuses on preparing his players to take on a Hibs outfit that are sitting third in the Premiership, having lost only two of their 10 league games.
He said: “It’s great, it’s the first televised game the club has had at home.
“The preparation has started and we’re up against a quality team who have had a great start to the season, so it’s a great game for us.
“Pre-season has been good, we’ve had a lot of good performances and some tough games.
“I never get too carried away with pre-season, yes you always like to win, but results are not the most important thing.”