Two days ago, The Mooch sat in front of the media and talked about the situation facing him when he looks over the dressing room. He’s right. It’s a disaster area. Half of his team are carrying injuries. They have the second biggest squad in the country and they should be able to cope with that. Instead they are throwing guys into the team half fit.
This is one of my bugbears in modern football, and I hate to see any player play who isn’t 100% fit. You risk them exacerbating their issues and being out for longer. I don’t think you ever get a proper shift from an injured player either. I would rather that guys who are carrying issues do not play, and I’ve written that time and time again on this site.
On top of that there is an ethical responsibility here which clubs really have to take more seriously. The stats on how many players suffer long term effects in their lives after their careers are horrific, and there needs to be a greater sense of that.
It is a terrible thing in our sport that it is commonplace to give people painkilling injections and force them to carry on when they should be laid up or getting operations. Football has its own moral universe, but some things are just plain wrong.
I am not saying that what is happening at Ibrox right now is in any way exceptional or especially immoral; I’m saying that this shouldn’t happen, anywhere, but that their club is very deliberately risking the long term health and well-being of its footballers in order to win games.
Other clubs have done it, Celtic included, but that so many of their players are in such a state is what makes this an especially egregious case. When he spoke yesterday and read out that list of players I was genuinely shocked, and I thought I was beyond being surprised by anything that he might say or that their club might do to win football matches.
At least three first team footballers are “playing through the pain barrier.”
But as any physio will tell you, pain is the body’s well of telling you that something is wrong and that you should change the way you act.
I am writing this wearing a neck support after straining it last week; sitting at this desk every day has negative impacts and you have to mitigate them as best you can, but more than that you have to acknowledge them which is why I took two days off and then put remedial measures in place to help it heal and to stop it happening again.
There are things more important than winning games and putting points on the board, and I don’t care that a lot of people are going to think this is cynical point scoring rather than genuine concern for their players.
It is not right, and nothing that anyone offers up as a defence will make it better.
Too many clubs do this, and they should not be allowed to. Football has its own rules, but the one about a duty of care to its employees isn’t one they should be allowed to ride roughshod over.