Supporters return to local grounds
The gradual return of football supporters to stadiums took another positive step at the weekend as more local teams welcomed crowds back for competitive matches.
Stenhousemuir had a sold out crowd of 380 (the maximum allowed for the club in Level 1 restrictions) at Ochilview for their valiant 2-1 Premier Sports Cup defeat to Partick Thistle.
“What a difference it made to have supporters back in the ground,” said Stenny chairman Iain McMenemy.
"I actually felt a bit emotional when I headed out to my seat at kick-off and saw and heard the crowd.
"The hardships of the past 16 months are still fresh in everyone’s minds but it felt like we were edging back to some normality.
“I know from speaking to some of the players, they have missed the energy that the crowd brings to the game and their performance.
"I just hope we can continue to build from here and welcome full crowds back before long and we can get our famous hospitality lounges open once again.”
Meanwhile, over at Carmuirs Park there was a crowd of 180 Camelon fans in attendance to watch the Mariners kick off their East of Scotland Premier Division season with a 4-1 win over Newtongrange Star.
"Obviously it was great to have the fans back in,” said Camelon chairman Gary Clark.
"It brought the place back to life again, at the end of the day the supporters are the lifeblood of the club.
"They got to see the new team and it was great to start off with a win especially with having a brand new team on the park.
"It was a brilliant atmospere and it was good to see so many people back, the weather really helped as well.
"It’s not just the football but the social aspect for our supporters, seeing other people they’re might not have seen for a while.
"It also gave the players a lift as well because, after everything that went on, they wanted to go out and give the fans a performance.
"We loved having the back because they are the reason we are all involved with football.”
With Scotland moving to Level 0 restrictions as of Monday, crowd numbers are slowly increasing and it is hope that stadiums will be able to return to full capacity in the near future.