St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin has enthusiastically welcomed news of fans possibly returning to matches next month.
The Scottish Premiership has been played behind closed doors so far this season due to coronavirus restrictions but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that “sports stadiums will be able to reopen from September 14 – but only for a limited number of spectators and with strict physical distancing in place”.
Goodwin, preparing for the visit of Ross County on Saturday, said: “It is fantastic news. No doubt that everyone in football will welcome that statement from the First Minister.
“Hopefully everything goes according to plan between now and then and that gives us all something to look forward to. The supporters are a huge part of our game and we need that atmosphere both home and away.
“We are absolutely delighted that they have September 14 to look forward to.
“There hasn’t been a positive as far as I am concerned. The opening day of the season is always a big one on the calendar.
“We would have loved to come out to a near full house against Livingston on the opening day.
“It is not the same without them, it is as simple as that. Forget the financial aspect of it all, just from a product in terms of the game being live on the television and broadcast all over the world, we want to get our passionate supporters back into the stadium as soon as possible.
“Whatever percentage that is in September, I am not sure of the number yet but if everything goes according to plan in September, October, December, hopefully come January we will be looking at getting back to somewhere near full capacity.”
New signing Kristian Dennis goes straight into the squad for the visit of the Staggies.
The 30-year-old striker signed a two-year deal with Buddies after leaving Notts County and Goodwin is hoping he is the answer to St Mirren’s profligacy in front of goal.
He said: “He doesn’t need a lot of chances.
“Since I have been at the club, in probably 85 per cent of the games we have been involved in, we have created good opportunities on at least three or four occasions in a game.
“If we can convert 30 or 40 per cent of these chances we are getting then we will certainly pick up more points.
“Our conversion rate last year was the lowest in the league.
“We created just as many opportunities as a number of teams in the league but we didn’t have that final finish and hopefully Kristian will be the one that is going to make the difference this season.”
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