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Ross County manager fears fans’ return to grounds is unlikely after break

By Andrew Henderson

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Malky Mackay thinks it is unlikely Ross County will see fans in droves for the foreseeable future.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(1) v Livingston(1). 06.11.20. County supporters at the game.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(1) v Livingston(1). 06.11.20. County supporters at the game.

The decision was taken on Wednesday evening that, with the new limits on spectators for outdoor events imposed by the Scottish Government, the Premiership’s winter break should be moved forward and take effect after the Boxing Day fixtures.

The hope is that by the time the break is complete, Scotland’s Covid situation with rising numbers due to the omicron variant will have begun to improve and more fans will be allowed to return to matches.

The Championship, League One and League Two have all opted to continue as close to normally as they can, but those tiers would not have had a winter break built in to the calendar like the top flight and may have faced a tougher time rearranging matches in future months.

As far as Mackay is concerned, the prospect of playing matches essentially behind closed doors is one that Premiership clubs will be forced to accept at some point themselves going forward.

“I think the SPFL advised well, because had Boxing Day gone there wasn’t another spot in the calendar to actually play that game, so the fixtures wouldn’t be finished,” he reasoned.

“I genuinely think – and this is my own opinion – that it might be a while before we see big crowds in stadia again. I don’t see governments changing that for a while, so we’re going to have to be playing with this anyway.

“We love playing with fans in the stadia – when Celtic came up last Wednesday night, the stadium was rocking.

“I was absolutely buzzing for our 300 in Perth, and it’s great that they can go back up to Dingwall with a win. We have a young group that are starting to follow us, which is really exciting.

“Overall, looking at it, it’s tough times and we’ve all just got to make the best of it.

“The 12 chairmen came to an amicable decision with the SPFL, and there’s a compromise for everybody to play on Boxing Day, have the break, and then as I say I think we’re going back into empty stadiums after that unfortunately.”

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