The ban on spectators due to the Coronavirus crisis plus the £3.2m sale of midfielder David Turnbull to Celtic in August has allowed Motherwell to carry out essential renovation work on the John Hunter Stand at Fir Park in recent weeks.

Repairs were required if the Premiership club was to be granted a healthy and safety certificate by North Lanarkshire Council but the absence of punters has, for once, worked in their favour, allowing the builders to get the job done in a quarter of the time it would normally take.

“We’ve taken the opportunity – bearing in mind we sold David Turnbull to Celtic – to take some of that money to upgrade some of the facilities at the stadium,” claimed chief executive Alan Burrows.

“That’s been needing done for some time but it’s hard to do when there are games taking place every week.

“It’s a job that’s probably been five-ten years in the making and it became a priority. I wouldn’t say that we’d been put under pressure by the local authority but, in terms of being granted a safety certificate, it was something that needed to be done.

“Now, because there are no fans in the ground, we were free to remove the seats and carry out the work.

“We have good local suppliers and contractors helping us out by keeping prices competitive and the timing was right because it would’ve been much harder to do if we weren’t playing behind closed doors.

“Without that flexibility, you’d be trying to duck in and out of the work between matches, packing everything away and then bringing it back out again.

“There aren’t any advantages to the ground being empty on match days but it would’ve taken three or four times longer to get these repairs done if that hadn’t been the case.”

And Burrows points out that, even though fans haven’t been inside Fir Park for 11 months, the ground still had to be brought up to speed.

“Even though the pandemic has kept supporters away, the safety of spectators inside the stadium still has to be adhered to by the clubs,” he said.

“The local councils don’t take breaks from these things so we need to maintain a certain standard in order to get that safety certificate.

“Plus, from our point of view, it’s part of our preparation for welcoming the fans back, hopefully sometime soon, into a safer and more pleasant environment.”