WEST FIFE’S senior non-league football clubs have backed a Scottish Football Association decision to suspend the season temporarily due to COVID-19.

Last Monday, the game’s governing body announced that football beneath the SPFL Championship would be halted until at least January 31 due to a rise in cases across the country.

That has meant the Lowland League, of which Kelty Hearts are top; the East of Scotland League Premier Division, featuring Crossgates Primrose and Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts; and the First Division, which includes Oakley United and Rosyth, are off.

With First Minister Nicola Sturgeon having announced on Tuesday that the current lockdown restrictions are set to continue until at least mid-February, it is unclear whether the stoppage will be lifted by the end of the month.

Local clubs aren’t convinced that will be the case but, speaking to Press Sport, they agreed that the right course of action had been taken.

Craig Cowan, who sits on Oakley United’s committee, said: “It was just a wee bit disappointing that it’s had to come to this again.

“At the end of the day, football’s secondary at the moment – we need to try and get out of this. It’s about people’s lives.

“I knew it was coming to be honest.”

Primrose secretary Kevan McArthur noted: “I think the right decision was made, without a doubt. Myself and Norrie (Philp, chairman) have been chatting about it a few times, and thought this doesn’t seem right that we’re getting to travel around the place and nobody else is.

“I think when they made the decision, it was at the right time, and it’s just an open case whether we get started back shortly. It’s looking more like the end of February, and we just have to see where it goes from there.”

Swifts chairman Craig Reid commented: “I really do believe now is the right time just to call it a day and put it on hold for three weeks.

“I think it will be longer than three weeks if I’m honest with you; I don’t think we’re going to get back playing games at the end of January. I think there will be some form of extension onto that, and then even at that, when they do put an extension on it, they’re going to need to allow two, three, four weeks to get back to a level of fitness before we can start competitively again.”.

Rosyth coach Russell Craig added: “It’s totally understandable.

“We were obviously adhering to all the guidelines but, ultimately, you’ve got 20-plus boys coming from different houses and work environments.

“It’s a painful one to take but it makes sense.”

Kelty Hearts were also approached for comment.