HIBERNIAN manager Jack Ross has called upon Scottish football to ramp up pressure on the government once more over the issue of allowing fans into matches, with the Easter Road boss baffled as to why fans are still completely locked out of grounds.

Ross was puzzled to see the World Snooker Championship final taking place in front of a capacity crowd indoors earlier in the week, while in Scotland, there are no plans to allow fans into open-air stadia until the European Championships this summer.

He says it is a shame that his club’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United tomorrow will take place in an empty Hampden, and it is about time that the Scottish football authorities started pressing harder to get fans back through the turnstiles.

“I find it a little surprising we seem to have taken our foot off the accelerator a little bit or stopped lobbying for supporters in stadiums,” Ross said.

“I know it’s not just as simple as people being in stadiums, I know people will point to the commute and how people travel. But equally, when you open shopping centres people will travel to those by different ways. I don’t really understand why we’re not edging close to it or trying to do it.

“It’s huge in people’s lives and I think that’s what has got lost in all of this, we don’t just want football fans in stadiums to pay bills, we don’t just want them in stadiums to make a noise. We want them in stadiums because it is a massive part of people’s lives, it’s a huge part of their mental health, their well-being, their social lives.

“I’m sure in years to come people will be able to reflect back and look at the damage it has done in that respect because it has left a massive, gaping hole in people’s lives over the past year and a bit.

“And I do think we should be doing more to address that further, particularly when you look at a snooker final being played in front of nigh-on 1000 people indoors.

“I struggle with that. I don’t quite get the logic. I am sure someone smarter than me and more knowledgeable regards science will tell me why that is the case. But it is slightly baffling for me.

“I think with everything we are doing as a country and the strides we are making towards allowing people to get back towards a normal life with the vaccination programme etc, I do think the timing of it is an opportunity for us to progress it. Particularly when you look at the fact there will be thousands of fans inside stadiums at the Euros not that far from now. For us to go from zero to that amount seems a little bit strange as well.

“It’s almost like we have accepted it for this season and we’ve almost rolled over and said it’s not going to happen, let’s worry about next season.

“It’s a shame, because there’s still some big games over the course of the next couple of weeks.”