Tam Courts defends Dundee United Christmas night-out in Newcastle and reveals players' party itinerary included Grand Prix

Dundee United head coach Tam Courts defended the club's decision to approve the players' Christmas night out before Covid-19 hit his squad.

Tam Courts has defended the players' trip south. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Tam Courts has defended the players' trip south. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Courts revealed "a couple" of players had tested positive this week but the situation had been contained and there was no threat to their cinch Premiership game against Rangers.

United players had travelled to Newcastle at the weekend despite Public Health Scotland officials "strongly urging" people to defer Christmas parties days earlier.

Courts said: "We live in very judgemental times these days because we are two years into a pandemic and what's right for one person is wrong for another.

"Every single decision you take within a football club right now almost has to have an element of crisis management consideration.

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"We allowed them to go but we also provided transport to minimise mingling on public transport. We knew the itinerary of the players.

"This is kind of a flippant remark but partly true as well – players aren't the beer monsters of 20 years ago. I mean, I know as a manager I'm not going to get all the reports of what the players are up to but I certainly know there was a congregation watching the Formula One.

"I was actually partly disappointed to hear that was as much of the shenanigans they were up to.

"At the same token, I was at the Christmas market last weekend mingling amongst hundreds of people. I actually saw three of my players there with their wives and girlfriends.

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"These cases can come from Newcastle, they can come from Edinburgh, and we also had a positive case within a staff member last week.

"There's different ways this virus can be transmitted but we are quite content we put in mitigating arrangements for the players to be protected but still have a bit of down time, which they don't actually get a lot of."

There has been no talk of regret among the players, according to United skipper Ryan Edwards.

"We haven't spoken about it to be honest," Edwards said. "It was in place, we followed every restriction by the book."

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Courts went on to stress that the club had recently appointed Luigi Capuano as operations director, claiming he "pretty much wrote the guidelines" for Scottish football to deal with the pandemic during his previous role with the SFA.

Courts also pointed out the Omicron variant was more easily transmitted and added: "We are trying to do everything we possibly can to protect the players, to keep a healthy squad available, but actually still remember we are running a football club with human beings who need to have a life as well."

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