Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson believes the new five-tier coronavirus restrictions system gives hope for the return of some fans.
Lanarkshire itself narrowly avoided a lockdown similar to the one earlier this year yesterday afternoon. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been assured by local leaders that the area can curb the spread of Covid-19 but the situation will be monitored daily.
At present it remains in tier 3, with tight restrictions still in place around Motherwell including the closure of many hospitality settings. But in tiers 0, 1 and 2, there is scope for fans to return to stadiums, albeit in limited numbers.
Aberdeen and Ross County will likely be the first Premiership clubs to receive the benefit of this, the latter hoping to have 700 fans in for their next home game against Livingston. In these ‘strange times’, Motherwell’s boss thinks the system gives everyone a boost of sorts.
“I think the new tier system gives people a little bit of hope,” Robinson explained. “There’s some like Inverness and Ross County who are in tier one so hopefully they get fans back as soon as possible.
“It does give us hope that if we can get into those tiers, we can get some fans back. I see normal life go on in some settings, and obviously some that aren’t.
“But I feel as if we have an environment that if you have a 12,000 seater, outdoor stadium, we could accommodate all of our season ticket holders very safely. Aberdeen are in tier two so they’ll be hoping for fans back.
“They can maybe accommodate 6,000, Celtic and Rangers eventually can get 20,000 in their stadiums. People need a bit of hope, it’s strange times, depressing times, my dad has turned 80 and I can’t go and see him.
“It’s difficult for everyone. There is people dying of this pandemic so it’s important we put that into context. But there is hope. Football clubs are such huge parts of communities and I hope the government move forward with trial events. I can’t see a better industry equipped to deal with it.”
A boost for the fanbase in the short-term would be a Well victory over Livingston on Saturday. The Steelmen head to West Lothian knowing three points could take them into the top six with two games in hand.
“It’s a big game for us,” said Robinson. “Livingston have been very difficult opponents for us. I watched their game against Rangers on Sunday, the second half they were very good.
“They changed the shape we think they’ll play against us. They are aggressive and put so many balls in your box.
“We play some very good football but we have to be aware it’s going to be a physical battle.”