'Lucky' Hibs defender Ryan Porteous given late reprieve amid SFA Covid uncertainty

Hibs did their best to protect Ryan Porteous from the coronavirus shambles that has enveloped the Scotland U-21 squad but the young centre-half, who describes himself as “one of the lucky ones”, was only given the green light to play in Saturday’s match against Celtic at 11am that morning.

“I got a text on Friday night from one of the boys who plays for Reading, Tom McIntyre. He asked if I knew what was going on. I said I had no idea. I think the gaffer [Jack Ross] and Potts [assistant manager John Potter] didn’t want to tell me anything so that my preparation was right and my head was on it.

“But I got a phone call on Saturday morning saying I might miss out or I might not. They were going to find out things like where people were sitting on the plane or sitting on the bus.”

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Celtic's David Turnbull, Aberdeen’s Ross McCrorie and his brother Robby, of Livingston, all tested positive for Covid-19 on their return from Scotland Under-21 duty and, in all, 11 players and two staff have been told to self-isolate but Porteous said that given the strict protocols the team had to adhere to, he always believed he would get the all-clear.

While' Ryan Porteous was given the all-clear, several of his Scotland U-21 team-mates have been forced to self-isolate following an outbreak of Covid-19 in camp. Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)

“Because of who the players were that got it, I knew I was away from them and knew I’d be fine, but confirmation only came probably about 11am,” said the 21 year-old defender, who tested negative on Thursday.

“I had been following the protocols but so had all of the boys. I was just lucky I wasn’t at their table, or sitting beside them on the bus or the plane. I was fortunate.”

Several managers and players have slammed the SFA and questioned whether more could have been done to protect players after a member of the backroom staff tested positive last Sunday, prior to the squad flying out to Greece.

But, Porteous said the risks, the uncertainty and subsequent acrimony would not stop him joining future squads, if selected.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Hibs defender Ryan Porteous during a Scottish Premiership match between Hibernian and Celtic at Easter Road, on November 21, 2020, in Edinburgh, Scotland (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“It’s one of those things. It’s the new normal now and if I’m lucky enough to get into the squad, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to be there - that’ll be the last thing on my mind.”

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