MIKE Mulraney, the SFA vice-president, has ruled out Holyrood giving a set date for football to return at talks tomorrow and predicted the Scottish game faces “a long and difficult journey”.

However, the Alloa Athletic chairman, stressed the SFA and SPFL are working tirelessly to ensure that clubs can resume playing whenever the government finally gives them the go-ahead.

Joe Fitzpatrick, the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, is to hold discussions with the SFA, SPFL, Scottish Rugby and sportscotland tomorrow and when major sporting events can be staged again will be one of the main topics on the agenda.

“What we hope is not any huge statement that will come out of it that will in any way answer the question,” said Mulraney. “I think that is unrealistic. It is part of the journey

“It is a journey that football has taken with the government, with everyone else, to try and take football back safely getting played in Scotland. Obviously, it is very welcome that we are getting an opportunity to speak to the government again. It is a process.

“From our point of view on the joint response group, we’ve had to face up to some of the stark realities much earlier. We have obviously had Dr McLean (SFA chief medical consultant John) present at every single meeting. Some of that depression that is settling in we have gone through. It is clearly going to be a very long and a difficult journey.

“But if we don’t prepare to deal with that problem and we don’t prepare to get back to playing football we will extend that journey needlessly. At the moment we are aware, but we are obviously very concerned.

“We have gone on a journey. When we first banned hand shaking everyone thought we were crazy. Two weeks later there was no football in Britain. The journey has accelerated and has changed. It won’t be a starting pistol and everybody starts playing football again from day one.”

Speaking to Sportsound on BBC Radio Scotland, Mulraney continued: “When do we expect? We don’t. I don’t think it is realistic to expect. But you must have a plan. If you do not have a plan you will never get it up and running.

“These (joint response group) sub-groups have been set up to allow us to be in a position that if it is possible for us to be playing football by August, September, we have got to be in a position where we have given ourselves the best chance to do so.

“I would not say I expect Alloa to be playing football in August or September, but I would hope we will be playing football.

“What we need is the whole football family to address it and we are if you look at the teams we have created. We need to create an environment where we give answers to the fans, the public, the players, the staff and critically to our government to allow them to have confidence to restart football in Scotland.

“How do we restart football without putting an unrealistic burden on the services we require? We have got to keep the nation safe first and then we look at how we bring the answers to the government about how football can fit in to the new world that we are going to have to operate in.”