PETER Grant will be back on familiar ground tonight when Alloa Athletic end their 214 day wait for competitive football. 

The Airdrie boy will take his Wasps to the North Lanarkshire town for their opening Betfred Cup fixture in their first game since a 2-0 win over Inverness Caley Thistle in March. 

It brings to a close one of the strangest off seasons the former Celtic captain has ever experienced and he is as delighted as anyone to have something to look forward. 

READ MORE: Peter Grant delight at talk of bailout for Scottish game

However, he knows the game’s short term future remains in doubt in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases and spikes affecting Premiership clubs. 

“We are delighted to be getting back to it and we are just praying to God there are no shutdowns,” Grant told Advertiser Sport. “That’s the bizarre thing about the lockdown. 

“The football is going ahead and that’s what we just need to look out for. 

“It’s been a strange pre-season and build-up for us and so many clubs, but the good thing is that now we have that focus and games to look forward to.

“It’s great for us and it’s important for the players we use this time well to get them ready for the league action. 

“Obviously we want to do well in the cup, but the big thing for us is getting our fitness ready. 

“I know that’s not the ideal way to look at it, but it’s a fact and it’s the way it has to be this year. 

“It is bizarre how long the players have been out, and they are doing well, but you start to see aches and pains. 

“Boys want to keep pushing themselves and I will always give them credit for that, but it’s about finding the balance. 

“The goal has always been to get back on the pitch and playing and that’s what we are looking forward to.” 

League One Airdrieonians will prove a stern test of the Wasps, having strengthened in the summer with the likes of Griffin Sabatini and Eoghan Stokes. 

The Diamonds have ambitions of playing Championship football next season and things don’t get any easier for Alloa, with Premiership Livingston on Saturday then Edinburgh City on Tuesday evening. 

Strathallan Times: There is hope Liam Dick will be fit for tonight's game There is hope Liam Dick will be fit for tonight's game

While tonight comes too quickly for skipper Andy Graham, Innes Murray, and Nicky Jamieson, Grant is hopeful Liam Dick and Kevin Cawley will make it despite carrying knocks. 

He said: “We have a couple of knocks that will not be available for tomorrow, but it’s not long term in any shape or form. 

“It’s hard to judge these wee injuries but they seem fine and it will only be a couple of days for them.

“The ideal goal is to win matches, play well, and to have everyone ready for the first league game of the season.”

The Wasps boss, who has also added Ray Grant, Edin Lynch, and Lee Connelly to his ranks, remains hopeful of securing at least two more before the end of the month. 

“I am delighted with the boys who have come in and they have all done really, really well. 

Strathallan Times: Ray Grant joined his dad in Clacks this summer Ray Grant joined his dad in Clacks this summer

“We are certainly still hopeful but we are also dealing with the Premiership teams who are able to have more players on the bench this season and use fives subs. 

“I’m very happy with the group and if I can add one or two more then I will be delighted.”