ONE of the most iconic stands in Scottish football has been shut due to safety concerns.

Fans have been banned from using the A-listed seating area at Gala Fairydean Rovers until restoration work is completed next year.

The 54-year-old structure, which was designed by celebrated architect Peter Womersley, has shown signs of deterioration in recent months.

And a section of the stand had been cordoned off in recent matches.

The Lowland League club is now working in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and charity Live Borders to ensure its long-term future.

And to allow for survey works to start it has been decided to block off access completely to seating area to ensure public safety and also to enable the tests to be carried out uninterrupted.

Kevin Temple, chairman of Gala Fairydean Rovers, told us: “We are obviously extremely disappointed that we have had to close the seating until this intrusive work is complete.

“However, our number one priority is the safety of our spectators.

"The club have been working hard to ensure that the stand is returned to its former glory and whilst this temporary closure is frustrating it also marks the beginning of the restoration process."

The closure will apply for all bookings at the Netherdale 3G Arena as well as Gala Fairydean Rovers' home matches in the Lowland League.

The results from the surveys will be used to shape the restoration of the iconic structure.

The bar area and changing rooms within the stand will remain open.

Local councillor Euan Jardine added: “Gala Fairydean Rovers is doing some fantastic work in the community, with its expanding youth section, disability squad, walking football team and ladies squad.

“Alongside its community work, the club is also best known for its striking Peter Womersley designed grandstand which attracts admirers from far and wide.

“I am pleased a project is being progressed to preserve the stand and hope the club, Council, Live Borders and other partners can work together to ensure it remains in place for many years to come.”

The Netherdale grandstand, built in 1964 through funding from Gala Fairydean and Gala Rovers.

It was one of first football stadiums in UK to use a cantilever design and has since been given Category A status by Historic Environment Scotland, with visitors from across the world coming to Galashiels every year to see the stand.

Olly Robertson, Area Manager for charity Live Borders, said: “The safety of sport participants and spectators is of utmost importance.

“As facility managers, it is essential that we deal with health and safety issues in a compliant and professional way. We will support all partners involved and help in any way we can to ensure the restoration project is a success.”