Aberdeen told to play St Johnstone game despite 8 players self-isolating

Two Dons players test positive for Covid-19

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

Two Aberdeen players have tested positive for Covid-19 and a further six have been ordered to self-isolate after coming into close contact with one of them.

However, the Pittodrie club have been told they must play their scheduled Premiership match against St Johnstone in Perth on Saturday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reimposed strict lockdown measures on the city of Aberdeen following a fresh outbreak of coronavirus cases.

The city’s premier football club have now been affected and the news will come as a real blow to manager Derek McInnes whose side lost their season opener to Rangers on Saturday.

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After the game at McDiarmid Park, the Dons are due to host Hamilton on Wednesday before travelling to Glasgow to take on Celtic on 15 August.

They now face the prospect of being without eight players for those games.

A statement from the Scottish FA / SPFL Joint Response Group said: “The Joint Response Group has been informed that Aberdeen FC has returned two preliminary positive tests for Covid-19 among its playing squad.

“One player has now been confirmed as a positive by a follow-up National Health Service test, while the second player is awaiting the result of a follow-up NHS test.

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“In light of the First Minister’s increased restrictions imposed on the city of Aberdeen since a significant outbreak of COVID-19 this week, and following further investigation by NHS Grampian’s Health Protection Team, the Scottish Government has instructed that both players will require to self-isolate, along with a further six players found to have been in close proximity to the initial positive player.

“The initial positive player will require to self-isolate for 10 days from yesterday [Wednesday], with the remaining seven players to self-isolate for 14 days from yesterday.

“This instruction for self-isolation has been unanimously endorsed by the Joint Response Group. In light of the action taken, and after consultation with Scottish Government, Aberdeen’s Scottish Premiership match against St Johnstone on Saturday will go ahead as scheduled.”

Rod Petrie, chair of the Joint Response Group and Scottish FA president, added: “As we have said from the outset, public health is the absolute priority of the Joint Response Group. As soon as we were informed of the positive tests, the information was immediately referred to the Scottish Government via our Chief Medical Consultant.

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“Given the well-documented outbreak in Aberdeen it was imperative that we took the swiftest action to enable the local Health Protection Team to respond immediately.

“The Scottish Government’s instruction to the JRG was clear and unequivocal, as was our support of that instruction. Given the circumstances, we issue the strongest possible message to all clubs to ensure compliance with the twice-weekly testing procedure and Scottish football’s Return to Playing Protocol. It is imperative that everyone adheres to Scottish Government public health advice.”

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