Dundee United defender Mark Connolly feels the “new normal” is a small price to pay for being back on a football pitch.
The Tangerines took a tentative step into pre-season training this week, with the players socially-distancing and undergoing testing for coronavirus.
It has been unlike anything the 28-year-old Irishman has experienced in his life but he insists it is all worth it just to get the boots on again.
Connolly and his Tannadice teammates still have a long journey back to what is hoped will be an August 1 start for their Premiership return but they have made a slow but sure start.
He said: “The way it has worked is we’ve had our tests and you get a swab down your throat and then up your nose.
“It’s not the nicest of procedures and we will have to do it twice a week.
“We will get the results in the next 24 hours or so then do it again later in the week.
“This sort of thing is a small price to pay to get back training and playing again.
“The club have been brilliant planning training and keeping everyone informed of what we need to do.
“It has all been well planned so it’s straightforward.”
Connolly admitted it has taken a bit of getting used to, not being able to high-five or tackle your teammates.
He added: “It has been over three months since we last kicked a football so all the lads were delighted to get back in.
“Training has been different, you can say.
“We are socially distanced so you’re just doing passing drills but from a good few metres away.
“Everyone has their own cones designating where they should and shouldn’t be, so we are all spread out all over the pitch.
“The next phase will be the contact side of it but that will be up to the Scottish Government and the SFA to OK that.”
Connolly reported that lockdown has been put to good use by the United players.
He said: “The lads have come back in great shape.
“Everyone has been working hard on their own over the summer.
“In some cases, I would say people are even fitter than they were before, so it’s going to stand us in good stead for the Premiership.
“I know from my own experience that I wanted to work hard on my fitness for my physical and mental well-being.
“The lockdown was a long time so you had the opportunity to throw yourself into it.
“It was a chance to look after yourself with exercise and with what you are eating.
“The one thing you have to be careful is that you haven’t done too much in the off season and you blow up during the season.
“But we will be managed properly on that front and the coaching staff will look after us.”
Connolly, meanwhile, has not just been keeping himself in shape but has used the shutdown time to branch out into business.
He explained: “Myself and a few friends from down south that I played with have been in the process of starting up a kids’ clothing line.
“It’s me, Michael Jones, who was at Carlisle, Nicky Adams at Northampton and Jamie Proctor, who plays for Rotherham.
“We played together at Crawley in the English League One six years ago and have always remained close friends.
“We are all dads and we were talking about it for a while because in our experience you often can’t really get your hands on the stuff you want and with the big companies you don’t get the proper service you’re looking for.
“So we want to start up and have a tag of being helpful, quick to respond and looking after the customers properly.
“Our website will be up and running in the next week or so, so we’re ready to get started.
“It has been six months in the planning and once the coronavirus stuff happened we decided to give a percentage of the money to mental health charity,” he added.
“We’d been talking about how difficult people were finding it in the current climate, how much people were struggling with worries over the lockdown and their jobs.
“Being in football, we know a lot of people who don’t have contracts and are facing uncertain futures.
“So there is a mental side of that and it’s the same right across society because people are worried.
“So we will give 15% of what we make to the charity Mind because they do a lot of good work. “
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