'It doesn't seem right' - Scottish football managers, players and pundits react to Coronavirus, including from Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen

A look at what players, managers and officials are saying about coronavirus and Scottish football

The SPFL are set to allow football to be played this weekend across its four divisions despite the coronavirus outbreak. If games go ahead in the Ladbrokes Premiership it will be one of few top-flight divisions to go ahead in Europe.

The Premier League and English Football League are set to announce postponements after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus. Meanwhile, Uefa have confirmed next week’s Europa League and Champions League matches have been called off.

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Plenty of managers, players and pundits have had their say about coronavirus and games going ahead. We look at some of the comments.

Scottish football reacts to Coronavirus

Key Events

  • This weekend's games are still set to go ahead
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Celtic captain Scott Brown on the title

“You’ve got to do what’s best for the safety of the fans. It’s more contagious when you’re in a big crowd. If games go behind closed doors then the SFA are looking out for the welfare of every person.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. It seems to be getting worse so we’ll take the lead from the club and the SFA. We’ll worry about that when it comes. Things stand as it is right now, we need to make sure we focus on this game on Sunday.

“If it ends then it stays as it is. We want to go out there and win as many games as we can, whether it’s in front of the fans or not. It would be sad if fans aren’t there because that’s what football’s about.”

SPFL and SFA's joint response group on this weekend's matches

"Following the First Minister’s comments regarding plans to restrict public gatherings from next week, we will enter discussions with the Scottish Government to understand the full detail of their plans and the implications for clubs and national sides.

"For the avoidance of doubt, all SPFL games scheduled for this weekend will be proceeding as planned.

"Of course, we ask all fans, players and officials to heed the clear instructions about self-isolation for seven days if they exhibit the symptoms of Coronavirus, and the vital necessity of good handwashing hygiene."

PFA Scotland warn its members about closed-door games

 PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart warned members in a statement of the risks of playing games behind closed doors. 

He cited the example of Juventus defender Daniele Rugani who tested positive.

He said: “Through no fault of his own, he has put his team-mates and opponents’ health at risk. We cannot allow that to happen in Scotland.”

Daniel Stendel on playing the season

Speaking earlier in the week: “I think, even everything that has happened with the Coronavirus, the competition is 38 games. You cannot say after however many games that you just stop the league. I think it’s not really the rule, the spirit.

"I don’t know the future. I’m very similar to Jurgen Klopp, I have not an idea. I’m not a virologist.”

Stenhousemuir chairman Iain McMenemy on impact on lower league clubs

"Whatever way it falls in terms of a decision from the SFA/SPFL it will be difficult for us. Clubs could potentially go under because of this. At the same time you have to go with medical advice. It’s like staring in the abyss and not knowing what is around the corner. It’s an unprecedented situation to be in."

Hibs boss Ross on surreal preparations

“For us it has been business as usual, albeit in a slightly strange scenario. I think it would be fair to say that, for everyone, it has been a little surreal. It is a fluid situation that has changed quite quickly – and I’m guessing could change again in the coming days.

“It’s strange. For everyone it’s been a bit unusual because people are caught in this limbo and it’s about trying to make sure we still retain a focus on the game."

BT commentator on SPFL's reaction

Steven Gerrard doesn't want games behind closed doors

“I don’t think anyone wants to see the remainder of both competitions (Premiership and Europa League) played behind closed doors - or see teams pull out.

“It seems a lot of people are making decisions to cancel or alter the situation, whether it be to play behind closed doors. We’ll follow UEFA and do what we need to do.

“That’s not great. No player or manager wants a game, or even to watch a sporting event, behind closed doors. I watched part of the Manchester United game today and it didn’t feel right.

“Thankfully, the game (against Celtic) is going ahead this weekend with the crowd here, so we have to focus on that big one."

Sutton and McCoist surprise at games being played

Ally McCoist: "The job of a government is to look after its people and I don't doubt for a minute they're trying to do that. Both the Scottish government and Boris Johnson.

"But I'm hearing both the First Minister and the Prime Minister telling us there are going to be more deaths. It's going to happen, it's inevitable it's going to happen.

"And I hear the First Minister say there might be a clampdown on gatherings of over 500 starting from Monday in Scotland.

"My obvious question would be: why, if it's that serious, are we waiting until Monday?

"The team that's travelling here are coming from an area that's probably one of the most affected, certainly in Germany.

"So it's an unqualified opinion, but I'm very surprised the game is going ahead."

Sutton added: "Over 1,000 people have died in Italy, there are other countries taking action and I think we're all sitting here wondering why our own countries aren't taking action. Across Europe they're playing behind closed doors, they're shutting down leagues, and we're waiting just telling people to wash their hands? It doesn't seem right."

BBC pundit Tom English on finishing this season next season

"If there's a doomsday scenario and there is no football played between now and the end of the season you finish this season at the start of the next season.

"You get rid of the League Cup, you get rid of the winter break and you have a truncated 2020/21 season."

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