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St Mirren chairman John Needham unhappy with SPFL over Celtic game going ahead

By December 23, 2021No Comments

St Mirren chairman John Needham will write to the SPFL to call for a change in Covid rules following stricken Saints’ goalless draw against Celtic.

Jim Goodwin had 11 players out with Covid issues for the visit of the Hoops on Wednesday night and their bid to get the cinch Premiership match postponed was rejected.

The match was only confirmed as going ahead on Wednesday afternoon and the Buddies boss gave a debut to 17-year-old Kieran Offord with starts for 16-year-old Dylan Reid and 19-year-old Jay Henderson.

Nobody on the St Mirren bench had featured for the first team until 18-year-old Daniel McManus came on as a late substitute to help the home side hold on for the point.

In a statement released on St Mirren’s official website, Needham said: “Now that the dust has settled on a difficult day for everyone at the club I wanted to write to all of our fans.

“Firstly, I wish to apologise for any uncertainty surrounding whether the Celtic fixture would proceed and any inconvenience caused.

“Everyone at the club was working flat out to try to work through the difficulties caused by COVID infections amongst our employees and I want to thank all of our staff for their unstinting efforts.

“Next I must thank Jim Goodwin and his staff for a heroic performance on the pitch and the professional way everyone handled last night in the face of such adversity.

“I was extremely proud of every single player and I’m sure everyone watching would have been impressed by their application and fitness.

“On behalf of the board I also want to record our disappointment at the situation we found ourselves in throughout yesterday.

“We understand that rules exist and are essential for the fair conduct of sporting competitions.

“However in the current pandemic we also feel that there needs to be judicious application of the rules, in this case, to take account of the law and guidance issued by Government around testing and isolation.

“We do not believe the rigid application of rules, agreed in a different set of circumstances, is appropriate or fair.

“We had to take the field last night without 11 of our first-team squad and a substitutes’ bench where none of the players had played first-team football for the club.

“Indeed the situation would have been worse had we not received negative PCR Test results around 6pm allowing the players in question and their close contacts to play.

“If those tests had been positive we would have been forced to field all of the players listed as substitutes in the starting line-up.

“We plan to write to the SPFL to highlight the difficulties we faced and our view of the need for change.”