COMPETITIVE football could return to East Lothian at the end of September.

The county’s six senior football teams have been left on the sidelines since March, when the coronavirus pandemic brought the season to a premature close.

Now, early discussions have identified a possible start for the new campaign.

The Lowland/East/South/West Pyramid group – representing teams from the Scottish Lowland Football League, the East of Scotland Football League, the South of Scotland Football League and the West of Scotland Football League – held its first Zoom call earlier this month.

Clubs are hoping to restart training in the coming weeks, with a view to playing again at the end of September or beginning of October.

Managers from East Lothian’s teams cautiously welcomed the announcement and hoped it was the start of light at the end of the tunnel.

Geoff Jones, manager of Dunbar United, said: “I think, to be honest, it is an enormous boost.

“Not just from a football perspective but just a mental health perspective as well – for a lot of people to get back to doing some level of group interaction.

“We have pushed – as have a lot of clubs – individual training programmes through virtual apps, like Strava, but some people are highly motivated and others find it difficult outwith a group environment.”

Meanwhile, Johnny Harvey was looking forward to starting his first full season in charge of Tranent Juniors, having been appointed in February.

The Foresters Park side will be looking to build on a promising campaign, which saw them sitting fourth in the East of Scotland Football League Premier Division when the season was stopped.

Harvey said: “To get some kind of normality back in everybody’s lives would be a huge boost.

“Supporters, players, myself – everybody is exactly the same and is excited to get back on the field as soon as possible.”

Kevin McDonald, manager at Musselburgh Athletic, was frustrated to see football halted in the spring with his side on an impressive run of form, including securing a place in this season’s Scottish Cup after a 7-0 thumping of Mid Annandale in the South and East Shield.

Now, he is hoping to see that continue when the upcoming campaign gets under way.

He said: “I have been pestering the secretary at Musselburgh to find out if he has any information.

“We are all desperate to get back – myself and the players are the same.

“We will be looking at a seven-month break by the time we restart games.

“The sooner we are allowed to get back training and playing friendlies the better.

“I think we will need more friendlies with not playing for so long as well.”

Joe Hamill, player-manager at Haddington Athletic, said everyone at the club was keen to see the season get back under way.

He stressed that training could look slightly different than it did previously, with stringent cleaning measures being put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

He said: “It’s a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel for us. I’ve been getting messages from the players asking ‘when are we starting back?’

“I’m in the same boat and just want to get on with it.”