By Calum Brown (@Calum_Brown99)
Covid-19 has impacted Scottish football at all levels, with games and leagues right across the country being cancelled and never fulfilled. For many within the game, particularly at amateur level, the last six or seven months with no football has been a real struggle.
Chris Irving, manager of amateur side Dennistoun Thistle, saw the wind taken out of his sails when the virus hit, with his side still in with a chance of claiming silverware. He said: “The season was right in full flow. We were in a cup final, which is going to be honoured, and we were sitting top. Our last game was a top of the table clash, then it just stopped the following week.”
With the absence of football, Irving claims that without the beautiful game, his mental health was really effected. He commented: “I struggled personally for about a month. For somebody that has got mental health issues, it was very tough. It’s a big concern in football because for a lot of people in amateur football, that game and that training is their only outlet.”
Another amateur side impacted by Covid-19 was Abbey Vale. The club, from Dumfries and Galloway, were also on course for potential silverware, before the virus brought an abrupt halt to Scottish football. Vale defender Adam Kirk struggled with no football, and feels that despite being able to play again, it’s just not the same. He said: “Not being able to play for six months was one of the hardest things I’ve had to face. The fact we were competing for a top finish, the first of our club’s history, would’ve been fantastic. The season felt like a complete waste after it.”
“Getting back into playing felt great, but the fact that you have to socially distance, follow all these rules and protocols meant it was really difficult. Even now with the games being played, getting changed outside and not being able to shower after games. It really is a struggle.”
Footballers and coaches have probably been impacted by the virus the most within football, not to forget fans, but sports journalists have also faced some changes and have had to adapt to the new protocols quickly to ensure sound coverage.
Former Daily Record sports writer Euan McLean believes that this is a very tough time for the industry at the moment. He commented: “It has been challenging for journalists. They’ve just had to adapt, as you always do in journalism.”
“You’ll always be thrown curveballs, you’ll always be given different and challenging environments where you’ve just got to make the best of what you’ve got.”