THERE is finally light at the end of the tunnel for Sauchie Juniors as they edge closer to their long awaited return.

The Clacks team have been given a date for contact training after having to endure a frustrating summer with little clarity from football bosses. 

While the SPFL was busy getting on with things and Premiership action kicked off earlier this month, those in the tiers below League Two have bemoaned a lack of communication from the game's chiefs. 

But, last week East of Scotland bosses were delighted to share an update from the Scottish FA which revealed training could return this month.

READ MORE: Ross Crawford delighted to be back at Sauchie Juniors

Assuming everything goes to plan, the Reds don't have to wait long to take to the Beechwood Park pitch, with friendlies allowed from early September and league action on the cards at the start of October.

Sauchie chairman Karl Rennie is among those delighted to finally have a date to work towards and he says he can't wait to get going again. 

"It's given us that focus point for everything we are doing," Rennie told Advertiser Sport.

"The next two or three weeks will be full steam ahead to get everything ready.

"We are now just waiting for the full go ahead. 

"The guys are geared up and ready to go. They are itching to get started." 

The Premier Division outfit have made sure to make the most of their extended break from action, completely revitalising their home ground in recent months. 

Not only has the Jimmy Millar Stand been given a bit of love and attention, extensive work has been carried out on the pitch and the indoor facilities. 

It's all been down to a team of volunteers, who have made it their mission to help out the club they love. There's still some work to do, however, to prepare the ground to meet strict social distancing guidelines for when the game returns. 

"It's been incredible what everyone has done and it will be so good for people to see it," Rennie continued. "The change has all made a huge difference to the ground.

"It makes a huge difference to the club that these guys have been doing it off their own back. Otherwise we just couldn't afford to do it. It's as simple as that. 

"We have been working behind the scenes to get things ready and they have take some of the tables out now from the bar function area. 

"That just gives us the focal points and areas for people to use as their own station rather than having to all be in the changing rooms.

"There will be your handwash stations and sanitising kits that will be going in. We will have track and trace in place as well to make sure we can manage who is in the ground. 

"Hopefully by the time we play football, as Nicola Sturgeon says, there will be some fans in the ground. We're looking at letting small crowds back in by September.

"As everyone knows, we are not overflowing with supporters, but if you can get a few hundred in through the gate that makes a big difference to a team like us. 

READ MORE: Sauchie Juniors boss Fraser Duncan on adapting to life during the Covid-19 pandemic

"There's enough area round about the ground to do so and we utilise the full ground. We definitely want the supporters back as they make the difference.

"For clubs at our level, if there are no supporters there, then it is hardly worth opening at all." 

For the players, they can finally look forward to getting back together as a group following five months apart. It will be a little bit different for Sauchie, however, after Fraser Duncan's overhaul of the squad. 

Out went the likes of Darren and Stevie Dolan, mainstays in Clacks for years, and in came players such as Sam Collumbine and Danny Smith. 

Ant McTaggart will be one of many familiar faces heading back for another season at Beechwood and he says the players - some of whom haven't met each other yet - are raring to go. 

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Ant McTaggart will be back at Sauchie for another season Ant McTaggart will be back at Sauchie for another season

"It's definitely a good thing and a bit of a relief," the midfielder said. "We had talked about training recently but we haven't been able to because of the restrictions. 

"It's good we have a date and hopefully we can get back into it soon and get back to things. We are desperate to get back together and for that bit of normality.

"You really miss seeing one another and the banter. It's never the same when you aren't together. 

"We've added the new lads into the group chat but there's definitely a few we haven't all met.

READ MORE: Sam Collumbine delighted to join 'ambitious' Sauchie Juniors

"We've made a couple of really good signings and it's all looking really exciting for us this year. 

"It has set us up for next season and I think we will be alright. By getting the boys in early and making the signings, we look really strong.

"We're also buzzing to see the ground. It looks amazing and it's so great these guys have been doing it all by themselves."