St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin pleads for full-contact training

‘Lift restrictions with players testing negative’

St Mirren defender Jack Baird undergoes a temperature test at the club’s training ground in Ralston. Picture: SNS
St Mirren defender Jack Baird undergoes a temperature test at the club’s training ground in Ralston. Picture: SNS

St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin has called on the Scottish football authorities to immediately lift the restrictions which prevent Premiership clubs putting their squads through full contact training.

Goodwin is adamant that the money clubs are currently paying out to test players and staff and ensure their training grounds are bio-secure environments must not amount to money for nothing.

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Not least because the outlay comes at a time when club finances have already been stretched to breaking point by the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown.

The hiatus is scheduled to end with the beginning of the new season on the first weekend of August and Goodwin said: “We have tried to keep training as normal as possible [but we can’t do full training].

“I know the players are desperate to get the balls out, get the small-sided games on the go, and get stuck in,” Goodwin added. “It really defeats the purpose of why we’re spending all this money on testing [that we are not able to do full contact training].

“The guys have been very patient up till now. I hope the [SPFL/SFA] Joint Response Group will lift the restrictions at the end of this week, and I hope next week we will be able to crack on as normal.

“We are paying a lot of money for testing. With all of the players and all the staff testing negative it doesn’t make any sense to me why we shouldn’t be allowed to go forward with contact.

“We are all trying to stick to the rules and first and foremost wanting to make sure that all the players and all the staff at the training ground are safe – and making sure that when they go home they are looking after their own families and everything that goes with it.

“We have adhered to the testing that is in place, the guys are getting their temperature taken every day and are filling out questionnaires every single day to make sure they are not feeling below the weather. As a club we can’t do any more and there is a lot of money being spent on this to make sure we are doing everything that is being asked of us.

“Now, I think I speak for everyone – all managers and players – that when the results are showing as negative, let us crack on and get down to business and make sure that players are prepared and ready come the start of the season.”

Goodwin, any uncompromising, full-blooded defender in his day, admits he “wouldn’t have been able to train” if he had been asked to undertake non-contact sessions.

“Any competitive person out there would tell you we do try to put the restraints on them but every now and again, someone gets carried away and that will to win comes in,” he said. “But the lads have been great, they really have. We have tried to keep training as normal as possible. It is not at the intensity of where we need it to be, obviously, because it is only week one. But the players have come back in fantastic condition, they really have.

“They have been looking after themselves, obviously, following the programme properly that the sports science team have sent them out, which is brilliant. It is 
just about building them back up now.

“We’re slowly getting the boys into it but I really want to raise the intensity levels next week. I also want to have our goalkeepers involved because at the moment they’re working in isolation, which I don’t like. I prefer to have the group working hard together because that helps to improve team spirit.

“There has been a lot of information for players to take in. Usually they turn up for 9am at breakfast, have a coffee, read the papers and socialise, which is what as managers we want to do to generate that team spirit and camaraderie.

Unfortunately we don’t have that facility. They don’t have access to the building. They turn up, they get their test then they go back and sit in their car.That’s not ideal, when the guys are sitting in their car for half an hour.”

To ensure that St Mirren are ready for the campaign Goodwin is also ooking for “four or five” more new signings following on from the recent arrival of Rangers free Jak Alwick as a replacement for departed keeper Vaclav Hladky. The popular Czech was one of 13 players who left the club over the summer.

“The goalkeeper is the main position in the team and one you have to get right,” said Goodwin. “[Our goalkeeping coach] Jamie Langfield spoke with a number of people and we knew what Jak’s capable of anyway. He’s at a great age [at 26] and experience under his belt. I don’t think we could have got a better replacement.”

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