Promotion is still on the agenda for Aberdeen FC Women as they kick-off their SWPL2 season.
The Dons host Dundee United at Cormack Park today and co-boss Stuart Bathgate insists the football shutdown has not changed their aims.
Clubs had played one game of the summer season before the pandemic, with it subsequently declared null and void. A decision was then made to marry the women’s season up with a traditional winter calendar, giving the go-ahead for an October start.
Aberdeen were promoted last year to the second tier and have long-stated their desire is to return to the highest level of women’s football in Scotland.
Bathgate said: “We’ve been quite clear on that, we’re trying to get ourselves back into PL1. No one’s made any secret of that.
“Getting the players back and through the first few weeks of the season unscathed is a big thing. It’s been so long without football so to be able to come through that, without any serious injuries, is a key thing for us to keep the squad together.
“The season that never was saw us bring in a couple of new faces at the start of the year. We’ve only really lost one or two and that’s down to work commitments, which is completely understandable.
“We’ve managed to recruit Bailey Collins from Aberdeen Ladies under-19s, which has been great for her. We’re always looking to add quality, but we’re comfortable with where we’re at.”
United came third in the 2019 campaign, 13 points behind eventual champions Hearts. Hamilton Accies finished second and will also be strong contenders.
Dons players were given off-season programmes by the club to keep themselves ticking over during lockdown and Bathgate feels they are as prepared as they can be for the new campaign getting under way.
He added: “We’ve had a few pre-season friendlies – we managed to pick up a game against Dundee United, bizarrely before we knew we were going to be playing them (on the first day).
“That was hastily arranged after they were let down at the 11th hour. We had an internal bounce game, Hibs and Forfar back-to-back, which have been really good tests for us.”