ABERDOUR Shinty Club have made a welcome return after announcing that training for youth members has resumed.

Club founder and head coach of the men's first team, Lisa MacColl, confirmed that weekly sessions for primary school age players, and those at under-14 and under-17 level, would be able to return last week.

Following further easing of lockdown restrictions by the Scottish Government, and through guidance from the Camanachd Association, the sport's governing body, the club's youngsters will be able to get back on the pitch in small groups.

However, although an indicative date of September 26 has been announced by the Camanachd Association for the return of local adult and youth matches, Aberdour have said they will not play any competitive shinty at youth level in 2020.

That is a stance that looks likely to extend to their senior teams, whose league seasons were suspended shortly after they began in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with MacColl hopeful they will also return to training soon.

For now, however, she explained to Press Sport that allowing members to re-engage with themselves, and the club, is the priority – while being able to provide confidence it is in a safe environment.

"I think the kids are all excited to be back and the coaches are looking forward to going back," MacColl said.

"It's nice to be able to get back to some kind of shinty. We've got everything in place and gone through everything we've needed to go through to return. We've also created our own documents as a club for the players and coaches so I think we're pretty ready.

"It will be slightly different but it's a return to something; it's better than not being able to train at all.

"It's just about making sure we follow the guidelines and using a bit of common sense. We're allowed a quarter of a pitch so, in theory, the older groups – like our under-14s and under-17s – will be able to have a quarter of a pitch each, so we could effectively have four different groups training with four different coaches.

"Everybody who wants to come back will be able to come back; some people may not be as keen and, like anything, that's absolutely OK, we just have to go with what people feel comfortable with just now.

"I think for a lot of the kids it's about reconnecting with their mates, seeing people and getting back into some kind of routine. We all know it won't be totally normal for a while but they're quite resilient and they just adapt.

"Before long, it won't feel that much different for them and hopefully everything that we've got in place makes it fairly easy for everyone to come back and not feel too strange.

"We've gone to a bit of effort to go above and beyond in terms of what we provide parents in terms of guidelines. Hopefully, that will help and reassure that we're doing all that we can to keep the kids and the coaches and parents and their families safe."

On deciding not to take part in competitive matches for the remainder of 2020 – something which the club will review at the end of the year – MacColl added: "We surveyed parents the other month and that was something that came across quite clearly, that people weren't that keen for competitive shinty.

"You can understand; let's get back to training first. That's the important thing; let's re-engage with our own players, our own club, and the parents, and make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable before we think about travelling anywhere. I think that is a good and sensible route for us to go down.

"It's just about having fun, playing shinty and all the rest will follow."