We’re lucky and privileged as footballers, says Caithness-born striker Shane Sutherland
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SHANE Sutherland believes Caley Thistle players have a duty to do all they can to ensure fans return to Scotland’s football grounds at the earliest opportunity.
The striker from Caithness – back with Inverness after a seven-year search for a full-time chance – has a keen sense of just how “lucky and privileged” he is in being able to ply his trade during the pandemic.
Sutherland, who turns 30 next month, admits he feels like a kid again back in full training after enduring the joint-longest spell of his adult life without kicking a ball.
“I actually missed a year once through injury and it was six months before I kicked a ball again,” the Wick-born player said. “It felt worse than that because, back then, I knew I couldn’t do it. These last six months we haven’t been allowed.
“It was difficult, but that’s the world we live in. We’re lucky and privileged as footballers to be training and, all going well, playing matches.
“There’s a lot worse in the world, with people jobless and fearing for the future, so we shouldn’t take for granted what we’ve got.
“The more we get playing and the government sees it working, the quicker we can get them back in.
“Personally, I don’t see how pubs and restaurants can open with social distancing but we can’t put certain numbers into football grounds.
“If friendlies go smoothly and teams don’t get positive tests, and we all look after ourselves away from the club, then we can press the case.
“I can only speak for Inverness, but everything has been done immaculately here.”
Before the 2019/20 season was halted by Covid-19, Sutherland was just two goals short of a goal century for Elgin City over four spells with the Moray club. With the form he was in last term, Sutherland would almost certainly have broken the 100 barrier and become only the second player after fellow Caithnessian Craig Gunn – now at Wick Academy – to achieve that milestone.
Sutherland played for Halkirk in the Caithness summer league before joining Academy as a teenager. He scored nine goals in 24 appearances for the Scorries in 2006/07 before embarking on his first spell at Caley Thistle.
He agreed to move back to the Highland capital in January, but saw the season out with Elgin before completing the move in July.