Latest delay to new Highland League season not unexpected, says Jags boss
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Jags boss Gordie Nicolson has said morale and fitness remains good within the squad despite a further delay to the start of the new Highland League season.
League officials announced on Monday evening they had decided to pause the start of the 2020-2021 season in view of the current public health situation.
The season will now not start before Saturday, November 28 and confirmation of that or an extension of the pause will be considered at a meeting to be held early next month.
Nicolson told the Strathy that he believes the Jags are better placed than most amateur football clubs to weather the Covid-19 storm.
He said: “The result of the deliberations earlier this week was obviously not the one we were hoping for but it has to be said it was not unexpected.
“It’s still a matter of waiting for some actual clarity on the situation – that’s what everyone wants now more than anything.”
It was another setback for the Grantown outfit and other Highland clubs.
Training has resumed in recent weeks and sights had been set on the opening round of fixtures on October 17 with Thistle away to Wick Academy.
“It’s tough,” confessed Nicolson. “It’s tough for everyone but depending on how long this goes on, it will be tougher for some clubs to survive than others.
“We are placed okay at this stage, I’d say, but obviously it’s going to depend on how long this situation all goes on for.
“It’s not just about the playing, it’s the social and financial aspects which have to be considered too.
“We are, of course, complying with all the relevant and necessary health and safety guidelines but some of the restrictions are more telling than others.
“Social distance travelling, for example, is a major factor. The Highland League covers a vast area and there’s a lot of travelling involved each week of the season.
“How do you socially distance an entire team on a bus? One of the most cost-effective ways of going to long-distance fixtures, as much as training sessions, was to car share but this is now not going to be acceptable.
“And I do sympathise with Wick in particular as they have a long haul whatever away fixture it is when the season does actually start.
“Here, at least, we have returned to Inverness for our training sessions after having to go further out initially, and that’s a big help since most of the players are based around the city.”
Nicolson said the Jags were also helped financially because the club’s administration by nature were prudent and the overheads were not as exacting as some of the other 16 teams in the league.
A Highland League spokesman said: “The league management committee undertook a careful and detailed consideration of the current situation and felt that, all things considered, a pause was the most appropriate course of action.”