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Gary Dicker demands return of fans to stadiums to boost Scottish football

Kilmarnock v Dundee United – Scottish Premiership – Rugby Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Kilmarnock skipper Gary Dicker says it is time First Minister Nicola Sturgeon allowed Scottish football to open its doors just like pubs and restaurants.

The Rugby Park captain is worried about what the future holds for the game after plans to welcome back fans were shelved by the Scottish Government in response to a new wave of coronavirus cases.

And he cannot work out why the hospitality sector is still allowed to serve customers in confined spaces when supporters are currently locked out of the country’s stadiums.

He said: “It’s worrying for everyone. It’s the unknown for football clubs and what happens next.

“It has been difficult not having fans in. We had them back in up at Aberdeen and I can’t see why you can’t have fans in if they are social-distancing.

“I don’t think there were any problems up at Pittodrie, you could have had even more in.

“It does give you a lift to see people in and it gives them a lift too.

“I think the league needs that boost. They are opening up pubs and restaurants but you can social-distance in a stadium better than anywhere.

“Hopefully they will see sense and allow the fans back in, as long as they aren’t putting people at risk. There is enough space inside and outside of the grounds to get them in.

“I can see why the government have taken these measures but then I don’t understand why you can do all the other stuff.

“I can’t understand how you can cram into a pub or a restaurant but can’t sit 10 seats away from someone inside a stadium.”

Killie face another behind-closed-doors clash in Paisley on Saturday as they take on St Mirren.

But there will be a few familiar faces for Irishman Dicker in the Buddies’ line-up.

Compatriot Jim Goodwin has looked across the sea to recruit Conor McCarthy, Jamie McGrath and Dylan Connolly this year, while defender Joe Shaughnessy got his big break at Aberdeen after coming through the youth ranks in his native Galway.

And Dicker is delighted to see so many of his countrymen getting an opportunity in Scotland.

“It’s good to see,” said the former University College Dublin midfielder. “We’ve got a few Irish boys in here now too. Alan Power and me have got a bit of back-up with Danny Rogers and Colin Doyle.

“I think the League of Ireland has always been a good breeding ground. It’s where I started my career and people are now realising it’s a good market to look at.

“Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers have been in the Europa League so they have a lot of talent over there. It’s good to see more Irish lads coming across.

“St Mirren have got a good squad. I think they’ve improved on the group they had last year. They’ve been a bit unlucky with a few results. I saw them against Celtic and they did well so it will be a tough game.”