Peterhead manager Jim McInally believes Scottish football is burying its head in the sand about how long clubs can survive playing behind closed doors.
All four SPFL divisions have started the 2020-21 season without fans present and that situation doesn’t look like changing any time soon following recent tightening of coronavirus restrictions.
The loss of supporters coming through the turnstiles and lucrative matchday hospitality is expected to have a crippling effect on clubs.
Although games are being streamed on a pay-per-view basis, they are not expected to generate the same income, with revenue generated from hospitality particularly difficult to replace.
With a delay on fans returning pushed back indefinitely, there was talk from the SFA and SPFL of securing a financial support package for clubs, but it has yet to materialise.
Although additional money has been made available to clubs through the SPFL Trust following the £50,000 grant from benefactor James Anderson, this cash can only be used on community projects and not club costs.
Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack has called on the Scottish Government to outline a timeline for the return of supporters and asked for the Dons to be given the opportunity to host more test events.
Blue Toon boss McInally, Scotland’s longest-serving manager, said: “It almost like there’s an ignorant bliss about it that everyone is going to be all right.
“I do think there’s a lot of people kidding themselves on about how long this can last.
“I think we’re burying our heads in the sand again. How long can we all go without crowds? Or even the the possibility of crowds because at the minute there’s not even a glimmer of hope.
“Dave Cormack has tried to have an influence, but unfortunately I think the government has already shown disregard towards Aberdeen as a city and the north-east by locking it down while places like Glasgow and Perth remained open.
“I think Celtic and Rangers are the two clubs with the best chance of having an influence.
“And sadly because of that I don’t think there will be any crowds before the next Old Firm game (scheduled for January 2), because they’ll want to balance it up and won’t want Rangers playing an Old Firm game in front of supporters when Celtic didn’t get to.
“That fixture is not until January, so that’s pretty worrying as well.
“We need to hope that there’s a gamechanger somewhere along the line, whether it be from a vaccine starting to be rolled out or a situation where things brighten up and everyone is feeling a bit better mentally.”
Peterhead take on Cove Rangers at Balmoor on Saturday, a fixture that in normal times would have attracted a large crowd.
McInally added: “This week playing Cove in normal circumstances you might have been looking at between 1500 and 2000 of a crowd, maybe it wouldn’t have been quite as much as that, but it would have been a lot of money.
“It must be so hard for chairman and directors to look at that and see what they’re missing out on.”