RHU Amateurs boss Stewart Maule says he and his players are eager to get started on a special season for one of the country’s oldest amateur football clubs.

With the coronavirus pandemic putting a halt to organised sports across the country in March, Rhu, along with every other football team in the country, were left in the dark as to what the future held.

Caledonian League bosses announced in May that a majority of their member clubs had voted to declare the 2019-20 campaign null and void, with no promotion or relegation.

But the easing of lockdown limits meant the club was able to hold its first pre-season training session, with social distancing in place, at Ardenconnel Park on Thursday night.

The Rhu manager admits that his players were disappointed at the way last season ended, but that they knew what was happening outside of football was more important and kept their heads down, working hard on individual training throughout the long early days of lockdown.

READ MORE: Rhu boss hails huge progress made by club as he looks back on an eventful 2019

He said: “As much as there was disappointment felt by everyone connected with the club, we were all acutely aware of the bigger picture, so completely understood and accepted the decision.

“The social media department has tried its best to keep everyone involved by having Player of The Day profiles, spot the ball, spot the player, word searches etc. on Facebook.

“They’ve also spent hours searching the internet for photos of previous Rhu teams, match photos and match reports to share online.”

There’s also been plenty of work behind the scenes - not just to make sure that the Ardenconnel Park facilities fully comply with physical distancing requirements, but also to ensure that the playing surface, clubhouse and changing rooms are in tip-top condition for the start of the new season.

With lockdown easing, the Scottish Premiership is set to return on August 1 with the lower leagues of the SPFL following suit in October.

READ MORE: Rhu reign supreme over Helensburgh in festive derby fixture

With the announcement by the Scottish Government that non-professional outdoor adult contact sport can resume at the start of next month, Rhu could be back on the pitch at some point in the near future – though there has not yet been any firm announcement from the Caledonian League, or the Scottish Amateur FA, on what form the 2020-21 amateur football season might take, or when the first competitive matches might be played.

“There is no official start date for amateur football to return, although outdoor adult contact sports can return from August 1," Stewart continued.

“We are fortunate to have our own facilities, but other teams don’t have that luxury.

“We feel that the games won’t be the problem – it’ll be the logistics of travelling to away games and the size of the changing rooms and so on that will be the main issues.

READ MORE: Rhu manager outlines high hopes for club's future ahead of 2019-20 campaign

“We’re looking forward to seeing everybody again, and welcoming old and new players back to Ardenconnel Park.

“I love coaching and I’m looking forward to trying new ideas and striving to be better and do better than we did last season.”

Returning to football will have a special feel about it this year for the local side, with the club celebrating a special date.

Stewart said: “This season will be the club’s 125th anniversary. Off the field, once we are allowed, we will be holding events to commemorate such an incredible achievement as well as continuing to engage with all our supporters and the local community.

“I personally love how much the club has grown over the last 12 months and I’m excited about what we can achieve with the help of our sponsors and our members over the next 12.”

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest news headlines from around Helensburgh and Lomond by clicking here