Celtic and St Johnstone bosses admit Covid concerns - 'it really worries me'

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou admits he is concerned about the deepening Covid-19 crisis but is hopeful it does not lead to the return of restrictions on crowds at football matches.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson (left) and Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou have both expressed concerns over how the spread of the Omicron variant might impact Scottish football. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson (left) and Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou have both expressed concerns over how the spread of the Omicron variant might impact Scottish football. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday that her government would be asking businesses to step up protections against transmission of the virus. Guidance will be issued this week making clear what that would mean for different sectors.

Postecoglou acknowledges the need for caution but hopes the Coronavirus surge can be quelled without stopping fans attending matches.

He said: "As much as we like to think football is the be-all and end-all, you want public health to be the priority and this football club has always followed the guidelines.

"But we have seen this year the difference in having fans and, for the people who experienced it without fans, it's a different beast altogether. The game changes. I really believe that, the way the players play, the intensity of games, changes without crowds there.

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"Our support is a massive part of this football club and I'm hoping regulations are tight but it doesn't impact our supporters coming to see the game."

With Covid causing a raft of disruption in England in recent days, Postecoglou admits it is a worrying time.

He said: "It's always a concern. I think maybe the general public at some point got fairly relaxed about it in terms of life being normal but we haven't really changed our processes since I got in the building. We have been really vigilant in following all the protocols.

"We know it's a constant, we know it can happen any time. It's affected a couple of Premier League clubs now and I'd assume those clubs are doing the same things as other Premier League clubs are doing. It's not like you can bulletproof yourself. You can do everything right and it can still impact you.

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"All of us are hopeful we get through this period unscathed."

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson has explained that his club have had to take into consideration which players are unvaccinated when arranging a seating plan for travel to away matches.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's trip to Rangers, he said: "I just make sure, especially the ones who are not vaccinated, are distanced correctly and that type of thing. The vaccinated ones obviously have a better chance of not getting it and staying healthy and being available for games, so it's just those type of things we've had to tweak.

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"I've been doing my bus plan, making sure everyone's in the right seat so nobody can pass it on and the unvaccinated ones are safe. With the size of squad we've got, it's really important we try and keep everybody safe."

Davidson admits he is wary of the way things are developing.

He said: "It really worries me. You look down in England and big teams are really suffering from it. We'll try and remain as safe as we can, as we have done over the past 18 months, but it's a worrying time because we know anybody can get it. That's the biggest concern, especially over the festive period, when we've crammed loads of games in.

"I'm not so worried about football getting stopped. I'm more worried about the increase in the number of cases and people going to hospital.

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"On the football side, the players and clubs can only do our best. It's going to be hard when it comes round to Christmas and family time, but we just need to keep testing and try to limit the number of cases we get."

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