Jim McInally has expressed concerns for the mental wellbeing of footballers currently out of action.
With all leagues in Scotland below the Championship currently suspended until at least March 1 as a result of the pandemic, there are a lot of full and part-time players across Scotland stuck on the sidelines.
The Peterhead boss admits he is concerned for players who are unable to get the release they would usually from being involved in training and games.
McInally, Scotland’s longest-serving manager, said: “I think this comes back to how important football is for people and for players with their mental health.
“They’ve had it taken away from them twice – I don’t expect anybody to feel sorry for them because everyone is in the same boat – but when you’ve got that adrenaline pumping every week and it’s taken away from you it’s difficult.
“I think it’s been proven in footballers that it causes anxiety and I know from my own point of view when I stopped playing I was really low.
“A doctor said to me that my adrenaline was still pumping because it was used to pumping, but I had nothing to do with it and it brings your system down.
“I think that’s what can happen and that’s why you get them to foster a good team spirit to support each other.”
McInally reflected on when he called time on his playing career in 1999 and the negative feelings he experienced and believes the current shutdown may have left some of today’s players with similar feelings.
The former Dundee United and Scotland midfielder added: “I was just tired and felt down all the time and you try to find out why you’re like that.
“It was a doctor that said to me that my adrenaline was still pumping. It’s the same as a manager, your adrenaline is still pumping.
“But I think I’ve been lucky during this to still be working and that’s why I get a lot off my chest when I talk about football because I want to look for explanations and reasons for things.”
It’s not only footballers that McInally sympathises with.
With Scotland still in lockdown in the effort to tackle Covid-19, the Blue Toon gaffer can understand why the country’s young people may be struggling.
When asked how he may have coped in the current situation had he still been playing, McInally said: “It’s hard to say how I would have been.
“I don’t even go back to being a footballer, I think back to being a young person.
“When I was in my teenage years, I don’t know how I would have coped with this at all.
“And, bearing in mind, when I was young there was no iPads and wifi and all the things of today.
“But I sympathise for a lot of young people because they’re missing out on an important part of their life.
“It’s not a nice situation for anybody and I think the thing about adrenaline is important to mention, because it’s a big thing in your body.”