On a Friday afternoon in March, Gary Dicker and his Kilamrnock colleagues were told they would not be playing on the Saturday. 

It would be close to four months before Dicker would return to Rugby Park, this time to prepare for a new season. The coronavirus put pay to the final weeks of the 2019-20 campaign, where Kilmarnock finished eight in the Scottish Premiership.

Not surprisingly, Dicker, the Kilmarnock captain, painted a picture of some uncertainty around the club during the lockdown.

"We had a lot of players out of contract and you think the club may not survive," the Dubliner revealed to RTÉ Radio's Saturday Sport.

"The prospect of a lot of players not getting work, players having to retire was there." 

Dicker was also assistant manager of Kilmarnock's reserves when bad new was imparted during lockdown.

"I had my role with the reserves. I was on a Zoom call when the decision was made to scrap the reserve team. I was part of the group that had to tell the lads. That wasn't easy."

Dicker celebrated his 34th birthday on Friday. He started his career at UCD, before moving to Stockport County in 2009. Spells at Brighton, Rochdale, Crawley and Carlisle followed, ahead of the switch to Scotland.

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 Kilmarnock began their 2020-21 league season away to Hibernian on Saturday.

"We finished eight last season, so we have to try and improve on that," was Dicker's summation of the club's aim, while adding that the aim will be "to break back into top six".

The Scottish game does not have the riches at its disposal that powers the Premier League, but the Killie skipper feels the overall set up at the club is currently in "good shape", despite the cuts with facilities he feels that should be a blueprint for the League of Ireland.

"The Scottish League gets a bit of a bashing, as does the League of Ireland. And while we will never be able to compete with Celtic and Rangers and do a 'Leicester' up here, our ground and our facilities is something we can be proud of. 

"I know the question of finance will always be there, but the League of Ireland should take a look in our direction. It's a league that is respected a lot over here.

"When I was at UCD, the facilities were great. We were miles ahead with sport science, doing all sorts of stuff that would eventually become the norm elsewhere."