Scotland’s national men’s team have played their first match at a major football tournament in 23 years. It was great to see Clydebank’s own John McGinn doing us proud on the international stage, and while the result of Monday’s match wasn’t what we all hoped for, I wish the whole Scotland team well in the rest of the tournament.

With West Dunbartonshire enjoying an easing of Covid-19 restrictions - along with the warmer weather and the excitement of Scotland’s return to the big stage of European football – there’s been a real sense of optimism here after what has been a difficult period.

I’ve been meeting with local businesses in Clydebank and across West Dunbartonshire and I’m pleased to back the Chamber of Commerce’s “Love Local” campaign. Many shops, cafes, pubs and small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, so it’s more important than ever that we shop local where possible.

Businesses in Clydebank and beyond have put a lot of work into making premises as safe as they can be, and I’d urge residents to support the fantastic businesses within our local communities where they can.

I continue to receive updates from public health officials on the progress of the vaccination programme which is critical to keeping the virus under control. Vaccine uptake continues to be high, which is great news.

However, in West Dunbartonshire, like many other areas, it’s concerning to see infection rates on the rise again. This has been driven by the new Delta variant, which is thought to be up to 60 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha (or Kent) variant which had been the dominant strain over the winter.

The latest health board figures at this stage show no significant increase in demand for intensive care beds which is a positive sign that vaccinations are helping to break the link between rising cases and serious illness from Covid-19. However, the number of people being hospitalised UK-wide is beginning to creep up which is a stark reminder of why we cannot let our guard down just yet.

Further updates are expected this week. Whilst it’s hoped that a return to stricter lockdown measures can be avoided, it may be necessary to pause the further easing of restrictions to enable more age groups to get both vaccine jags which studies show gives the best level of protection against the virus.

Whatever happens in the coming weeks, please continue to play your part. Follow the latest public health guidance, get tested regularly, and get your vaccine when the time comes.