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Halkirk manager says players will be desperate to get back in action

By Alan Hendry

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Halkirk United manager Ewan McElroy says the safety and welfare of others must be paramount. Picture: James Gunn
Halkirk United manager Ewan McElroy says the safety and welfare of others must be paramount. Picture: James Gunn

PLAYERS will be "itching" to get a game when competitive football is finally able to start up again, according to Halkirk United boss Ewan McElroy.

Had the coronavirus crisis not struck, McElroy would have moved on from a very satisfactory first season with the Anglers in the North Caledonian League to leading High Ormlie Hotspur into the top flight of Caithness summer football.

The 35-year-old teacher was committed to combining the two managerial roles, but the North Caley season came to a halt in March and has now been declared null and void, while there appears to be little chance of a county league campaign in 2020.

“My thoughts were turning to summer football but to be honest that looks pretty unlikely now,” McElroy said.

"I don’t know how long I could juggle both, doing one and then going straight into the other. It’s a lot of work and a lot of time spent away when you’ve got a young family.

"But certainly everything was in place to go this summer."

Spurs had booked their place in the Caithness first division after a play-off win against Castletown last August.

“I think it would have been a task, absolutely, to stay in Division One," McElroy said.

“But I can’t see any scenario where that’s going to go ahead – and rightly so. At times like these it’s about the safety and welfare of others – that’s paramount.

“We’ve got a really young squad in summer and it’s great to see them develop, and hopefully some of them will move on to the Highland League or North Caledonian. We’ve got a fantastic group of boys, and we were really looking forward to it, but it’s not to be.

“I think it’s best for everyone to scrap the season and then look forward.”

Looking ahead to the next winter campaign with Halkirk United, McElroy is convinced there will be a renewed appetite for the game.

“I’m quite excited and looking forward to it," he said. "In years gone by you might have been short of players, maybe boys pulling out here and there. With this kind of extended, enforced break I think all the boys will be itching to play football."

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