WHEN the Bundesliga first arrived back on our screens in May following the coronavirus shutdown, fans of the beautiful game breathed a sigh of relief as a sense of normality finally returned.

Let’s be honest though, how many of you were actually that interested or did you just tune in to Augsburg vs Paderborn to get a football fix that had been absent for the best part of three months?

The Premier League comeback was met with increased interest in Scotland as punters actually had a relatively clued up understanding of the 22 players who were strutting their stuff on the park.

Seeing Liverpool crowned champions was a welcome sight and the battle for relegation and Champions League spots also kept us entertained.

But come on, nothing in Germany or England quite compared to the return of the Scottish Premiership season did it?

I felt like a kid on Christmas Day waking up on Saturday morning.

Aberdeen vs Rangers on the telly for starters, a trip to Tannadice for Dundee United vs St Johnstone as a main course, and Sportscene (which has now escaped the graveyard slot) for dessert.

Don’t get me wrong, I was in an extremely privileged position to be able to go and watch a match in a stadium and I know thousands of others would have paid good money to be in my shoes. But it was just that sense of familiarity that was oh-so welcome.

I would have happily handed over my pay-per-view fee to have Scottish football back on my TV if I wasn’t in a position to go along to a game too.

And going by the reaction of supporters on social media, screenings from across the country seemed to go down without any major hiccups.

Of course there are going to be teething problems and it will probably take some of Scotland’s top flight teams a few weeks before they are churning out industry standard streams – but remember these are unprecedented times for everyone.

I have to tip my hat to Dundee United too. The Terrors were extremely well organised and made a potentially nerve wracking experience stress free for those of us who were lucky enough to take in their first game back in the Premiership.

They would have loved the stands to be full of adoring supporters for the unfurling of the Championship winners flag, but with the stadium decorated in tangerine flags and supporter cutouts, they certainly made the best out of a bad situation.

As much as it was great to be back at a live game, the lack of fans was the one big disappointment and I believe it certainly had an impact on those out on the pitch.

United played against the 10 men of St Johnstone for the best part of 50 minutes on Saturday and threatened Elliott Parish in the Saints goal only once.

If the stands had been packed with Tannadice followers urging their team on to attack, it could have quite easily been an opening day three points for Micky Mellon’s side.

There’s talk of it being September before supporters are able to return to their seats in stadiums across Scotland, albeit in reduced numbers.

In my opinion this stage, with empty stadia, could have both positive and negative effects on teams.

Dundee United, as previously mentioned, are a prime example of the way a lack of supporters can have a negative impact.

But for a team like Rangers, I think an empty Ibrox for the opening period of the season could work as an advantage.

Nobody can disagree that it takes a special player to perform week in week out in front of 50,000 and in recent seasons some Gers players have been guilty of finding that pressure too much.

In contrast, having no one in the stands, players can focus fully on the job in hand – getting three points on the board week in week out.

Consistency will grow confidence and when the time comes for supporters to make their way back through the Ibrox turnstiles, players should not find the weight of expectancy as heavy as usual.

Only time will tell if supporter absence will play a key role in deciding where the title ends up this season, but let’s just take a minute to appreciate that our game is back.

The league we love and adore, the teams we, in normal circumstances, would follow across the country every week are back on our screens.

There was pressure on the Scottish game last weekend to get it right after a summer of squabbling between clubs and the SPFL about how the season was ended.

It featured on our televisions and computer screens almost as much as the pandemic we are experiencing.

But again I will reiterate, nobody has experienced anything like this before and cut-throat decisions had to be made.

Those at the top got it right at the weekend and we must continue to showcase football in Scotland in the best possible way moving forward.

The Scottish Premiership is one of the few leagues running at the moment and with an operational pay-per-view service and Sky Sports on our side - it is time to show the rest of Europe what we are all about.

The talent is there and a captive audience is here now more than ever.

You simply cannae beat it. It’s great to have you back Scottish football.