IT WAS a subdued Armistice Day this year – understandable in the circumstances but no doubt distressing for some. But respects were rightly still paid and the memory of so many who gave so much recalled. Hopefully, next year the regular events will return and proper tribute allowed.

My father served in the Second World War, as my grandfather had in the First World War. Though he’d served from 1940 through until the end of the conflict, my father preferred his own private recollection to organised events. He rarely talked of his service in North Africa and Europe, but I always sensed moments of poignancy, especially on November 11, and he was proud of his service, as I am of him.

Others, of course, do prefer the comradeship of coming together and I’ve shared that at church services, in Erskine Homes and military institutions. The tales not just of those of my father’s generation but of a younger generation in more recent conflicts can be humbling and tragic. It’s not just those who served and paid the ultimate price but all who suffer in whatever way that we must both remember and look after.

Though eyes last week were on the national team, it’s grassroots football that provides the platform for success. Restrictions are making it hard for everyone, whether clubs for youngsters or the local East of Scotland League teams. Sport, but especially football given the numbers involved, is vital for the wellbeing of so many youngsters. Whether they go on to be stars or just keep fit and enjoy a kick about, it’s good for them.

It’s the same for the local East of Scotland League teams. It’s hard for them as they’ve always operated on a shoestring budget but they’re the lifeblood of the community. Some have youth and women’s teams attached and others just have links. But they matter and I recall the buzz a few years back with Musselburgh in the Junior Cup final.

Hopefully, socially distanced crowds can soon return. There’s not the same numbers or turnstile issues as in the professional leagues.