Dundee Football Club have played 1,620 minutes of football in front of empty stands at Dens Park since March 2020.
Thursday’s Play-Off Final first leg will be the first time since last March Dark Blues have been allowed through the turnstiles to watch their team.
A relaxing of Covid rules means 500 spectators are allowed inside football stadiums once again, just in time for the big match against Kilmarnock.
There may not have been paying punters cheering on their team from the sidelines.
However, there have been diehard Dees there all season insists manager James McPake.
And he says it would mean the world for them – and the rest of the club – to win their way back to the top flight.
“I think it will be a special thing for us all,” he said.
“Charlie Adam, Cammy Kerr, Max Anderson, Finlay Robertson are in the bracket of being Dundee diehards. We’ve got a core of local players here.
“What it would mean for this football club is a huge overall achievement for all the staff, for all the players and especially for all our fans who haven’t been able to see us but have still backed us.
“That’s the achievement we want, it’s not just for one individual or a group of players, this achievement would mean so much for a whole load of people.
“Particularly the ones who have been in here and the staff that have been working through this troubling time.
“For the Dundee boys, I think it would mean a lot.”
‘The fans love it’
Asked if it helps having that core of local players, McPake replied: “I believe so, yes.
“I saw that at Hibs with Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson. It’s important, the fans love it.
“The fans take to them and they get their own song: ‘he’s one of our own.’
“But then you’ve also got the emotion that comes with playing for your boyhood club.
“We’ve got two massive games coming up and I think it’s important we have a core of Dundee fans in our team but there’s also a core of Dundee fans within the football club and that’s important, too.
“Everyone wants the best for this football club.
“What is the best for this football club? It’s getting back to Premiership football.”
Lafferty and Burke
McPake knows the challenge that awaits his team on Thursday and then at Rugby Park on Monday.
Kilmarnock finished in third place in the top flight just two years ago and have seasoned campaigners like Kyle Lafferty and Chris Burke.
Those two are Killie’s top scorers this term with 17 between them.
The Dundee boss says his side will be well aware of the dangers they pose and will also have a bit of inside knowledge on how manager Tommy Wright works.
On Lafferty and Burke, McPake said: “They are great players who have had great careers. There are others in that team that have had fantastic careers but I will just focus on Dundee.
“Whatever team you play you have to nullify their threat. We’ve watched enough of them and we do have the beauty of Dave (Mackay) knowing Tommy inside out, which I think is a positive.
“Tommy will say it doesn’t matter because it’s a completely different club but — trust me — it matters.
“On their day they can be a very good side. I was in international squads with Kyle Lafferty so I know good he is. But I also know how good Lee Ashcroft and Liam Fontaine are as well. They are fantastic players.
“I’ve played against Chris Burke when he was in England so I’ve seen him at his best.
“So I know how good they are but our belief is we have a squad here that can get back to the Premiership.”