The news that Hamilton players have now tested positive and that training has been suspended for the entire club comes with just four days left until they take the pitch for their next game. That they will be without those players, and maybe others who are forced to socially exclude with them, will necessitate the continued enforcement of the rules.
Those games will go ahead, no matter how many players in the team do not take part. This is the way it works. The precedent has been set, and there’s no getting around it.
We at least now know that the suspension of fixtures in our case and that of Aberdeen was not about prevention or protection; it was about punishment. That’s what clubs can expect if their footballers breach the regulations. At a future date I’m going to tell you how that is capable of causing us even more trouble and it doesn’t take a genius to work it out.
The protocols for positive tests and the self-isolation of players at least is now certain; the show must go on. The game continues as before.
You’ll have noticed a number of people in the media squawking over this matter in the last couple of days, with the idiotic Kris Commons foremost amongst them. Stewart Gilmour threw his two bob into the hat as well, both of them making the same ridiculous point.
“Celtic and (the Ibrox NewCo) would never have to play without a goalkeeper …” wailed Commons, perhaps ignoring that the league allowed them to get an emergency loan of one. His point about us having to play the match with “James Forrest in goal” was patently ludicrous since no-one is making St Mirren do anything remotely like that.
Gilmour’s point, that neither Glasgow club would have to endure it is petulant wailing, and exactly the kind of victimhood that we’ve come to expect from other clubs. If they are concerned that rules might not be followed it’s surely up to them to deal with that if the matter arises. If, say, the Ibrox club has a few positive cases and contact tracing puts other players in the crosshairs, then games must go ahead as planned. It will be the same with us.
If the SPFL bends that rule, then surely, at that point, the clubs need to hold the executive to account. It is useless wailing about a future injustice in the papers if all you’re going to do should that injustice materialise is say “I told you so” and wail some more.
The media has its own responsibility here to hold people to account; if some of the hacks are troubled by the idea that bigger clubs might not be held to the same standard all they have to do is condemn the league in the most vocal language and demand that clubs get around the table and sort stuff out.
This perception that some clubs get away with murder has come from the simple fact that some do, but the clubs themselves allow this and the media is silent on it.
If this really concerns them all they have to do is be ready the second either ourselves or the club across the city is hit with this problem; it’s inevitable that we will be. If the governing bodies handle it differently than they have here I trust those same people will be demanding answers and that the clubs will be calling an emergency meeting on the issue.
And I trust the press will be ready to crucify all involved.
But I suspect that if one of the Glasgow clubs (and it would only be one of them) got the kid gloves treatment over this that the media would be silent, that the other clubs would be cowed and that once again our league and our game would be defiled by open rule breaking that went unpunished.
Because had any of these people said the clubs and the press would all be dead quiet if said club was given a sweet deal I’d have wholeheartedly agreed.
What these people don’t seem to understand is that you’re only a victim of what you tolerate, and behind all this whining is, I think, an acceptance that if things played out as they think they would, that these people would do a little moaning but ultimately they’d sit back and accept that.
That’s the real problem here.
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