When the words 'self-isolation' and 'lockdown' were first uttered as the coronavirus pandemic began to build momentum, panic kicked in around the globe.

When might we see our family? Will work life be the same? Will our mental health suffer? For Ayr United's Andy Murdoch it was, essentially, business as usual. The former Rangers and Greenock Morton midfielder snapped his cruciate ligaments in a 3-2 victory over Partick Thistle back in September and has been battling back to fitness ever since.

Given the severity of the injury and Murdoch's eight month absence, the 25-year-old has been forced to work on his own, virtually from the beginning. Four weeks he sat on the couch at home, unable to do anything at all in a physical sense. Even after being told he could begin his rehabilitation, it was a lonely road for the player. As his teammates fought for points on the pitch, Murdoch self-isolated, somewhat, in a bid to return as fast as possible.

That's why Murdoch hasn't quite viewed lockdown as negatively as others have. If anything, he welcomed the stalling of the SPFL. He was content to see the league chiefs call an end to the season prematurely. For Murdoch, he simply didn't want to miss any more football than he had to.

Though he expects it may take some time before he's fully re-integrated with his teammates - even after training is sanctioned to return. "I did my cruciate at the start of the season so I've missed the whole season," he told Herald and Times Sport. "So the lockdown has probably actually worked out alright for me. I'm coming on well, getting a lot of running done, exercise and leg strengthening.

"I've been out for a while. Most of the key strengthening work all got done before January, I was just getting back into running. That was the main part, which was over, where I needed to go to the gym every day. I can do wee circuits and things like that now from home, it's just getting fit again now. The final part of the process, fitness, touches of the ball and getting a feel for it. Whenever we go back I'm hopeful I'll be able to go straight into training as normal.

"It will be a gradual build in training in pre-season whenever that is, doing passing and running drills. Then I imagine I'll miss a few of the games and be brought back slowly. Then we'll manage it and see how we go through the season. The manager has been really good with me as well, he's sent me a few texts now and then to see how I'm getting on."

As the clock ticks down on his return to action, Murdoch has admitted to allowing boredom to creep into his daily routine. Try as he might, he has not always been motivated. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the central midfield man spent some of his downtime worrying if he'd ever make it back.

It's what you hear from every professional athlete to have suffered a serious long-term injury, eventually they hit a brick wall. For Murdoch, thankfully, it came and went. Testament to his desire to get back to the level he was playing at for a club - and manager - who have trusted in his abilities. "It gets boring after a while," he admitted.

"There are days when it's hard to motivate yourself, though it actually goes quicker than you might think. At the start you think there's no end in sight, but rehab went quite quickly. You have to get your head in the right space to be motivated every day, doing the same thing every day, it's very repetitive. The first few months was basically just me straightening my leg, then bending it the right way. That was just a frustrating wee exercise I couldn't even do.

"I've been decent getting up in the morning, going runs and doing my stuff. I'm feeling good, fitter than I've felt for a while. I've been used to not training every day so it's not as if I'm missing it right now. I'm used to it, I think. Even at the start I was off for four weeks in the house, letting my leg recover, so I was used to sitting about. I'm not doing that now obviously, but it's got me used to being in the house."

Without him, Ayr United managed to finish the campaign fourth when the SPFL's resolution to end the season passed. A successful term for the Honest Men, yes, but also bittersweet. Mark Kerr's lads felt they could really have made a go at the playoffs, with Premiership promotion a legitimate possibility.

"The lads really got together and did well," Murdoch went on. "We've been looking to solidify our position in the playoffs towards the end of the season. It's just unfortunate that this all happened. We were looking forward to the playoffs because we really thought we could do something.

"We had quite a few games called off due to weather, so we had a run coming up. If we'd got results in most of those, that would have been a really good run going into the last couple of games. We were confident that we could achieve, it's just disappointing the way things have happened."