John Hughes knows football isn’t immune from Covid-19 – but the Ross County manager thinks it gives people rays of light in testing times as he provided an update on Ross Doohan’s Celtic recall.
The talented keeper was named on the bench by Celtic during their 1-1 draw with Hibs just 24 hours after the match between Livingston and Ross County. It was confirmation that the Hoops had recalled their young stopper.
But Hughes says it was on the cards before Celtic had to isolate 16 players and staff due to a positive Covid-19 test: “Ross was always going to go back to Celtic. It was on the cards before the Covid thing kicked in.
“We asked him to sit on the bench for us against Livingston just to give us cover, but he was always going to go back. We are now pursuing another goalkeeper.”
Monday was a dramatic day for football in Scotland with one of the many talking points being the suspension of football below the Championship for at least three weeks. It means Ross County’s Scottish Cup tie with Highland rivals Inverness or Buckie Thistle at the end of January has been postponed.
Hughes says Ross County’s protocols are watertight: “In terms of football, it’s not immune from Covid-19. All I can say is that the protocols at Ross County are unbelievable. We had to take three mini-buses to the game against Livingston because of seating arrangements.
“We had to split up midfield from defence in case we get ravaged with that. We have trialists, they stay in a bed and breakfast, they aren’t allowed in the building. They walk down to the stadium and come in via an exit door.
“That’s after negative tests and then they need to go back to the bed and breakfast. That’s what we are doing, we are very stringent. What will be will be, I’m quite sure people are doing things for the right reasons.”
He spent a lengthy time watching from afar, and amid rising cases in Covid-19 across the country, Hughes doesn’t think football will be shut: “You look at the mental health issues and everything, it’s a lot of people’s out.
“You are desperate to play football and it’s great to be playing the matches. I think it’s a massive thing in life, not just in football, but in life that you appreciate what you have before it’s too late.
“I think that’s the case with football. When I started people told me to enjoy my career and love every minute and I get that message across to my players. You are doing something that you love – appreciate it.
“I don’t think we will be made to shutdown, I think we will keep playing away as long as we are stringent with the rules across the board. People think it’s about testing, but it’s about your conduct. I am just delighted to be back in the game working with a bunch of honest boys.”
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