Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes believes the resumption of the Scottish Cup is “good news” for the game in Scotland.
There was some concern about the viability of the competition this season after it was put on hold when all but the top two divisions of the men’s game were suspended from January 12 after Scotland went into tighter coronavirus restrictions.
However, it was announced on Tuesday that League One and Two and Highland League clubs who remain in the Scottish Cup are permitted to return to play immediately.
The following day the Scottish Football Association confirmed that country’s major cup competition was returning this month with the final pushed back two weeks to Saturday, May 22.
Aberdeen play Dumbarton or Huntly away in the third round and ahead of the Scottish Premiership game against Hamilton on Saturday, Dons boss McInnes said: “It’s good news.
“I think a couple of weeks ago we were all maybe expecting that there might be some sort of delay running on to next season, something similar to last year.
“So I think it is great and obviously the lower league teams are pivotal to that, getting back playing and that gives us the green light to try to carry on through and get the tournament finished which I think everybody would want.
“Obviously crowds have an impact on cup football in particular but I think the bigger picture is getting the tournament finished which is great for everybody and gives everybody something to focus on.”
With seven league games left Aberdeen are four points behind third-placed Hibernian having played a game more.
McInnes said: “We feel there is a race on (for third) and we have to play our part in that and start winning games.
“Between now and the end of the season, there is going to be lot of important games.
“We have a rough idea what we need to do to give ourselves a chance and we will work towards that.”
Brian Rice’s side are bottom of the table on goal difference following their 1-1 home draw with St Johnstone on Wednesday night where the Betfred Cup holders scored a last-gasp leveller.
However, McInnes said: “At the minute they find themselves down there and they have a game in hand, which could be the difference, and they could have jumped two or three places last night had they held on the last two or three minutes.
“It shows you how quickly it could change and I am sure Brian and his team will be thinking exactly that.
“I would be more surprised if Hamilton were bottom of the table come the end of the season and that tells you what I think of them. They always find a way.
“You wouldn’t bet against Hamilton staying in the league again.”