Former SFA chief Gordon Smith has blasted the Scottish Government's handling of returning football supporters to stadiums.

Sports minister Joe FitzPatrick confirmed this week that no changes are planned for the number of fans allowed in Scottish stadia despite changes in England.

In the lowest two tiers of England’s Covid-19 alert system, supporters will return to stadiums, with 4,000 or 50 per cent of capacity – whichever is lowest – in Tier 1 and 2,000 or 50 per cent in Tier 2.

In Scotland, 300 supporters can attend stadiums in areas in Level 0 or Level 1.

A letter from Mr FitzPatrick to Health and Sport Committee convener Lewis Macdonald, published on Thursday, showed no imminent easing of these restrictions in Scotland.

And Smith, who served as head of the SFA between 2007 and 2010, believes that this must change due to the financial burden being placed on teams due to a lack of supporters.

Speaking to Herald and Times Sport, he said: "I spoke to a contact in early October who informed me that he had been in a crowd of 400 at a Lewis United v Worthing match.

"This is England’s sixth tier in the professional game but is part of their pyramid system leading to league status. He told me it’s a 3000 capacity stadium, so that meant that almost 14 per cent of the stadium capacity was in use.

"I don’t know our Sports Minister, Joe FitzPatrick, and I understand he’s not a football fan, but I’d like to understand why this has not been acceptable in Scotland. We’ve already had a few situations that were designated as “trials” where fans were allowed, in small numbers, to attend matches in Aberdeen and Dingwall.

"Now, from my experience in football, the word “trial” generally suggests that there is an assessment being made regarding a player to determine if they are of a suitable standard. A decision is then made based on whether they receive a contract.

"What was the feedback regarding the fans being back in these venues? If it hadn’t been suitable then we should have been informed so that we would be aware of why no other stadiums could be opened.

"I’m fully aware that our clubs have prepared measures to ensure that fans can return safely in small numbers. They have a strategy to put this into action and comply with any safety measures the Government would require. Until recently, people were allowed back into cinemas which are all indoors.

"In terms of families meeting up, the Government are always giving leeway to numbers if they are meeting outdoors. I can confidently say that all professional matches in Scotland will be played outdoors, so surely this adds to the hygiene demands required."

You can read Gordon Smith's full column on the return of fans to Scottish football in tomorrow's Herald and Times Sport.