THE head coach of Aberdour Shinty Club admits that the sport remains in the dark over when it could possibly return.

But Lisa MacColl is confident that players across the country will be raring to return as soon as lockdown restrictions are lifted for contact sports.

Aberdour, established in 2001, currently have two men's and two women's teams, as well as sides at primary school age, under-14 and under-17 level, and last season saw their men's first team promoted to the National Division for the first time.

In March – before COVID-19 restrictions were announced – the Silver Sands club played their first-ever match in the sport's second tier, when they lost to Beauly.

But their hopes of building on that and adapting to life among shinty's elite has been halted because of the pandemic and MacColl, who is currently the president of the Women's Camanachd Association in addition to head coach of the men's first team, isn't sure what will happen to the existing season.

"One of the boys joked that we've had however many months in the National League, and we've only lost one game!" she laughed.

"In all my time as a coach, I've never had so little shinty focus. It's bizarre but it has given me the chance to take a breath.

"It will always be there when we go back, and the important thing right now is that people stay as safe as they can through all of this. Whenever we're able to get back, I'm sure everyone will be keen and raring to go by then.

"It's a bit of a waiting game; nobody knows. Shinty is a contact sport – you can't play a different way, as that would change what shinty is. The other thing is trekking about the country – do they want people travelling from Fife to Skye? Probably not, and vice-versa.

"Shinty has a big challenge on its hands."

While there may not be any competitive action for a while, Aberdour are looking to provide some home routines for players, who have also been comparing miles clocked up while running, cycling or walking via fitness app Strava.

MacColl added: "It was important that the club gave people time. They're trying to adjust with work, and kids having homework, without throwing loads of shinty into the mix.

"We've been doing some fun stuff on our Facebook page. I think that people have started to get their heads around the new routine, so now maybe they are able to see there's some things they can do with the kids in the garden."