November 25, 2020

‘Club punishment difficult for coronavirus breaches’

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Goodwin: “I think it’s difficult to punish clubs as a whole because of one individual. I think you could end up with different circumstances at every football club where maybe a certain individual doesn’t care as much about the situation as everybody else”

By Dan Sansom

Last Updated: 13/08/20 6:14pm

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Jim Goodwin believes it is ‘difficult’ to punish Scottish Premiership clubs if individuals breach coronavirus quarantine rules

Jim Goodwin believes it is ‘difficult’ to punish Scottish Premiership clubs if individuals breach coronavirus quarantine rules

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin believes it is “difficult” to punish Scottish Premiership clubs if individuals breach coronavirus quarantine rules.

St Mirren were due to play Celtic on Wednesday but Neil Lennon’s side and Aberdeen’s next two Premiership games have been postponed after high-profile breaches.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused players of being “incapable of living up to their responsibilities”, after Celtic’s Boli Bolingoli broke coronavirus quarantine rules before playing in their 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Sunday.

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Celtic boss Neil Lennon says everyone at the club is shocked and appalled at Boli Bolingoli’s disregard for coronavirus protocols

Celtic boss Neil Lennon says everyone at the club is shocked and appalled at Boli Bolingoli’s disregard for coronavirus protocols

Bolingoli travelled to Spain ahead of the match and did not quarantine on his return – something the club were unaware of until after the game. It came just days after Aberdeen’s trip to St Johnstone was called off due to two of their players testing positive for coronavirus.

Eight Dons players later issued public apologies for breaking guidelines by visiting a bar following their opening-day defeat to Rangers on August 1, and Scottish football’s Joint Response Group recently announced it will reveal enforcement measures for breaches of COVID-19 rules on Friday.

Scottish Premiership under threat – a timeline

  • Aug 1: Scottish Premiership season starts. Aberdeen lose opener 1-0 to Rangers. Eight players visit Aberdeen city centre bar after the defeat.
  • Aug 5: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces lockdown measures to be reimposed in Aberdeen after spike in coronavirus cases.
  • Aug 7: Aberdeen’s match at St Johnstone called off at request of government after two Dons players test positive for coronavirus after bar visit on Aug 1 that breached social distancing rules. Six more players ordered to self-isolate.
  • Aug 8: Eight Aberdeen players – Jonny Hayes, Michael Devlin, Scott McKenna, Matty Kennedy, Sam Cosgrove, Dylan McGeouch, Craig Bryson and Bruce Anderson – issue apology for bar visit.
  • Aug 8: Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths reminded of responsibilities after hosting birthday party for his girlfriend that breached government guidelines.
  • Aug 11: Scottish government threatens to to ‘pause’ Premiership after news that Celtic’s Boli Bolingoli broke quarantine rules. Celtic blast ‘irresponsible’ Bolingoli and apologise to all clubs.
  • Aug 11: Following talks between SPFL and Scottish government, Sturgeon says Celtic, Aberdeen fans should not expect to see their sides play in coming week.
  • Aug 11: Scottish football’s Joint Response Group confirms that Aberdeen and Celtic’s next two Premiership matches have been postponed.

Asked about the incidents, St Mirren boss Goodwin said: “Neil Lennon and Peter Lawwell will deal with that internally. I’m certainly not going to comment on what’s going on at other clubs, we’re just trying to control our own situation.

“We were disappointed that the game was called off and particularly in the manner that it was postponed, but I have to say it might be a bit of a blessing in disguise for ourselves considering we had such a difficult game on Sunday against Rangers.

“I think it’s difficult to punish clubs as a whole because of one individual. I think you could end up with different circumstances at every football club where maybe a certain individual doesn’t care as much about the situation as everybody else.”

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St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick says Scottish Premiership footballers need to ‘live up to being role models’ after high-profile breaches of coronavirus quarantine rules

St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick says Scottish Premiership footballers need to ‘live up to being role models’ after high-profile breaches of coronavirus quarantine rules

St Mirren target PSV forward Piroe

Meanwhile, Goodwin has confirmed his interest in PSV Eindhoven forward Joel Piroe as he looks to boost his attacking options.

The 21-year-old spent last season on loan at Sparta Rotterdam, where he made 18 appearances.

St Mirren are interested in signing PSV forward Joel Piroe this summer St Mirren are interested in signing PSV forward Joel Piroe this summer

St Mirren are interested in signing PSV forward Joel Piroe this summer

“We’re talking to a number of players,” Goodwin said. “I’ve spoken about the lack of options in the forward areas.

“He’s only a young lad, but he’s one that PSV have got high hopes for.”

He added: “We’re continuing to scour the UK and Europe to see what we could get, whether that’s a good loan signing or a good permanent, but I did make an enquiry about Joel.

“I spoke to John de Jong, the director of football [at PSV], and I asked him to put our name on the list.

“Joel is a very talented young footballer who played a number of games for Sparta Rotterdam last year in the Eredivisie.

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and St Mirren

Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and St Mirren

“He’s attracted good interest from other clubs. We’re in the hat. It’s a bit of a long shot, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. We’ve asked the guys at PSV to be open-minded to it and we’ll probably hear back by the start of next week.

“He ticks a lot of boxes for us – he’s quite tall, he’s very athletic, decent pace, got an eye for goal, so he’s pretty much what we need and hopefully we can make it happen.”

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