ABERDOUR Shinty Club say they will be ready to return to training and playing as soon as they are allowed.

Head coach Lisa MacColl is hopeful that its youth sections will be able to resume soon after the game's governing body stepped up its preparations following last week's route map out of lockdown was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The Camanachd Association (CA), who were due to meet on Tuesday to explore its next steps for a restart, are hopeful that if the trajectory set out by the First Minister continues, youth shinty would be able to resume on April 26 if in level three of the tiered system.

In the first phase, local leagues of four teams, giving six fixtures for each team, would resume at under-14 level, followed by new groups determined by their ranking in the first phase and maintaining a north/south split.

Local leagues for under-17 level, and regionalised national cup competitions, have also been earmarked, while regional competitions may be moved to a later stage in the season.

MacColl, who said that the tiered system could have an impact on players that play for Aberdour who live outwith Fife, said: "The club are looking forward to welcoming back our under-12s in particular because I think they would be first as soon as we're allowed to do so and as soon as restrictions allow.

"We were lucky enough to have them training up until Christmas so it would be really great to get them back on the pitch as the future of the club. The under-18s, we're hopeful that come the end of April, that they may be able to restart. That's another group that there's a lot of promise, both girls and boys, that we'd be keen to get back on the pitch with sticks in their hand.

"For the seniors, it will depend on what Government guidelines dictate. The players – I've spoken to a few of them – are keen to get back training, at the very least, and hopefully playing games.

"The majority of our under-18s are local, as well as our primary (school players), so that makes it easy, but our seniors, for the women's team and the men's team, are spread all across the central belt, and some up to Dundee, Forfar, Aberdeen.

"We've got ones in Glasgow and Edinburgh as well, and that then makes things slightly more complicated in terms of tier systems and what will and won't be allowed.

"As a club, as soon as it's safe and Government guidelines allow, we'll be welcoming everyone back. The CA have got plans for what it will look like, and the women's association also have got plans for local area leagues.

"Those final plans will come into place when we know what we can and can't do.

"Everyone's looking forward to returning to shinty. That's the important thing."

Willie MacDonald, Camanachd Association youth director, explained: "Restarting our sport is our number one priority moving into 2021 and we are encouraged by the likelihood of a return to training and then competition from as early as 26th April.

"The Camanachd Association development team have been in constant contact with our clubs since the turn of the year and this ongoing consultation has been used to inform the above proposals. Starting youth training is the first step on a road to the return of our ancient sport in its truest form."

Derek Keir, the organisation's CEO, added: "Restarting shinty is a hugely-exciting prospect but it is also a vital outlet to reconnect our communities and provide a safe place for adults, older people and young people to play – to bring the community together, to have fun and be active.

"Shinty clubs play a crucial role at the heart of communities and it is there that we have a huge opportunity to provide opportunities for our wider community, all of whom have faced the isolation of lockdown and will be excited about reduced restrictions and a return to local sport and physical activity.

"We welcome the Scottish Government strategy on exiting lockdown and are excited about the potential return of youth shinty and Mowi Leagues when it is safe to do so."