Dundee United defender Ryan Edwards has already seen enough of Scottish football to know it is underrated.
The game north of the border is facing a “no-fans” crisis caused by the coronavirus and that means the only way people can see the action is through their laptop screens or TVs.
Like everyone with the best interests of the sport at heart, Edwards regrets that miserable situation and would love supporters to be back in stadia as soon as possible.
He thinks they are losing out on watching a product that is far better than many – particularly in his homeland of England – think it is.
He has only been here since early August but has been pleasantly surprised by the standard.
Edwards, who will be at the centre of the Tangerines’ backline for their away match against Hamilton Accies today, said: “I think Scottish football is a bit underrated.
“I have come from League One in England and if I’m honest I didn’t know as much about the game here as I maybe should have done.
“Now, being up here in Scotland, I think it is a very underrated league.
“You can look at the plastic pitches, for example, and think the worst about it but that’s unfair.
“Overall, I definitely think it deserves a lot more credit than what it gets.”
As well as being impressed by Scotland’s top flight, the former Blackpool and Plymouth Argyle man has been touched by the welcome he has received since coming north.
“My family are always asking how I am getting on because I am up here on my own but this is the easiest club I have been at to settle,” said Liverpool-born Edwards.
“I have had six or seven clubs.
“I am not just saying that because I am here.
“It is down to the lads and the staff.
“It is very well run and from the day I came to look around and then signed it was very welcoming and an easy-going environment.
“Everyone can’t do enough for you and that goes a long way and that has helped me settle in as quickly as I have.
“It is massive for me.
“You want to feel wanted, trusted and welcome.”
Edwards revealed he had the chance to come to Scotland before, with United’s former assistant coach Lee McCulloch keen on him.
“It was 2017 and that was the year I signed for Plymouth,” he said.
“I was close to joining Kilmarnock when Lee McCulloch was in charge.
“I had talks but decided to go down south to sunny Plymouth and that was a good experience for me.”
Edwards also could have worked with United gaffer Micky Mellon before now.
He added: “I have played against his teams for years, since I was 18 and he was at Fleetwood.
“He had been Shrewsbury and then to Tranmere and he got them firing up the leagues.
“When I signed for Blackpool in 2019 I nearly signed for (him) at Tranmere.
“To be honest, I had already agreed terms at Blackpool but thankfully I have this chance.
“He has come back in for me and we can work together.
“The biggest thing is wanting to repay him with performances on the pitch and winning games for Dundee United.”
Edwards has brushed off the controversy that surrounded his challenge on Alfredo Morelos during the loss to Rangers a fortnight ago and played well in the 2-1 victory over St Mirren at Tannadice last weekend.
He got a great view of Lawrence Shankland’s wonder strike against the Buddies and appreciates why the striker is so highly thought of at the club and beyond.
Edwards said: “As you do when you got to sign for a new club, you do your homework and speak to players who may have played there or against them.
“That’s what I did.
“I spoke to maybe nine or 10 different people and they all mentioned Shankland’s name. Now I can see why.
“When I came in he was injured but I saw him in training and then on Saturday.
“I can see why his name keeps cropping up in so many places and rightly so.
“If he keeps putting the ball in the back of the net then he is going to get mentioned here, there and everywhere.
“That’s just the nature of the game and I can see why his name is brought up on a regular basis.”
As for the plastic pitches, Edwards will be on one today when he faces Accies but he will take it in his stride.
“I know there are a lot up here but you have to get on with it,” he said.
“We have all played on them.
“Both sides play on the same pitch so there can be no excuses at all.
“It is Hamilton’s home surface, of course, but we have trained all week here in Dundee on one to get ready for the weekend.”