Jonny Hayes, one of eight Aberdeen players in self-isolation following last weekend’s post-match trip to a restaurant and bar in the city, has revealed that those involved thought they would be considered part of the same household.
Hayes, Michael Devlin, Scott McKenna, Matty Kennedy, Sam Cosgrove, Dylan McGeouch, Craig Bryson and Bruce Anderson released a joint statement yesterday apologising for their actions which, in the short term at least, forced the postponement of this weekend’s Premiership fixture at St Johnstone.
Last night, Hayes also appeared in an interview on the club’s Red TV platform in a bid to “clear the air”. The 33-year-old Irish winger explained that the group of players were unaware at the time that they were breaching lockdown rules.
“It wasn’t a case of footballers thinking they’re above the rules or the guidelines,” said Hayes. “We made a mistake, we hold our hands up and we’re obviously remorseful.
“We thought that because we were together every day that we were maybe part of one big household. That’s where we went wrong.
“A couple of lads went out for dinner and I joined them later on. At any given point there was a group of seven households together – we did not know that was unacceptable and that’s being genuine. We thought we would maybe have been considered one household considering the fact we train together and what-not so it was a genuine mistake.”
He added: “We went out for dinner and looking back we shouldn’t have done that. We tried to stick to the social-distancing measures put in place – we weren’t hanging about in big queues, we weren’t doing anything that we thought would let ourselves down. We genuinely thought we were doing OK.”
Hayes said that one of the main reasons for releasing the joint statement yesterday was to clear up any confusion among Aberdeen supporters over the identity of the eight players involved.
“It has been tough for the other players as well,” he said. “ It’s not a case of we’re one group and they’re another group. We wanted to support them by coming out and letting people know we’re the ones that made the mistake.
“It’s not fair to tarnish the whole squad with one brush.”
Coronavirus aside, the players have come in for heavy criticism for socialising after a 1-0 defeat by arch rivals Rangers. Hayes admits he should have known better but said: “The game was a letdown, the players didn’t perform on the day. I came home and watched the game again and I thought ‘I need to take my mind off it’. That’s me being genuine: I couldn’t sit in the house, these four walls, watching it again.”
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