Celtic has tonight sought clarification from the Scottish Government and other agencies over what the precise rules are for the self-isolation of players who test negative for Covid. Ryan Christie has been told to wrap himself in cotton wool for 14 days.
In the meantime, Odsonne Edouard, who has the virus, has only to self-isolate for ten.
On the surface of it, that is plainly nonsensical, but it’s the rule and the rule is easy enough to understand as we don’t really know what the incubation period is and we don’t know at one point after exposure is someone able to pass this thing on.
So it makes sense. On the surface of it, anyway.
Except, in the case of Ryan Christie and other footballers, what we have here is a situation where the club tests these guys regularly. Christie and others will be tested all the way through the next seven days and beyond as we approach the Sevco game at Parkhead.
If Christie keeps coming up negative, what exactly is he self-isolating for?
Even if he’s asymptomatic, at what point should a test be able to pick this stuff up in his blood?
The rules exist because not everyone can be tested three times a week … but footballers can be tested multiple times in a short period, and they are monitored as closely as Presidents and with better precautions around them.
In theory, Christie could test negative all the way up to the kick-off, have shown no symptoms at all, and still be ineligible to play, whereas Edouard might be symptom free by then and be sitting on the bench, after having had this thing and returning a negative test.
Celtic wants to know in what world that be logical or correct, and I fancy that we have a good case here, and I write that as someone who was pleased to see today’s restrictions announced and who thinks we should have had a more aggressive lockdown than that.
There are clearly gaps in the wall, and holes in the system; players up and down the country have contracted this thing through God knows what means. Even the most secure system will never be fully secure when it comes to this and it is folly to think otherwise.
The club is correct to seek clarity on this; it may be that we ask and are told that this is just how it is and there’s nothing to be done about it, but the situation here is beyond bizarre, especially considering that Ryan has followed procedures to the letter thus far.
Of course, any scenario where Christie was cleared to play in that game would result in momentous wailing from Sevconia.
They would squeal conspiracy and generally lose their minds over it, but they’ve been waiting to do that for the last 24 hours anyway so they should take it as a good thing and not moan quite so much when they see “proof” that the system is rigged.
In truth, of course, this is precisely the sort of clarification they’d be seeking themselves and in the event Celtic gets a good answer it’s one they’ll almost certainly be able to take advantage of at some future stage. That’s an argument for another day.