Stephen Robinson was far from happy after the situation surrounding two of his key Motherwell players, Allan Campbell and Barry Maguire.
The pair were identified as close contacts of the Scotland U21s Covid-19 outbreak, forcing them into self-isolation. It wasn’t ideal just hours before kick-off as the Well drew 1-1 away to St Johnstone.
Mark O’Hara opened the scoring before the Saints hit back through a Stevie May penalty. Motherwell were notified just a few hours before kick-off that Campbell and Maguire couldn’t participate.
Robinson ask why communication wasn’t better: “Obviously it wasn’t ideal; that’s an understatement. We had named the team and were ready to go.
“But I got a phone call around 11 o’clock from the chief executive to tell me the two boys, Allan and Barry, couldn’t play – and a double punishment that they can’t play next week. It’s a big blow but we’re not going to use that as an excuse for the performance.
“We’re happy to get out with a point in the end with the disruption, but we can play better than we did. I got a phone call from the chief executive on Friday night at 10 o’clock to say that there was the potential that some of the U21s players had tested positive and there might be a track and trace issue.
“But it wasn’t until 11 o’clock that I was told the boys couldn’t play. It’s not ideal. I know that other clubs found out early in the day on Friday after they had tested. So the communication was poor, really, really poor.
“It’s got to be better than that when you go into an elite performance environment, allegedly. I’m being told that a staff member tested positive and the players weren’t retested before they flew on two flights in close environments.
“They haven’t broken any protocols, that’s not the question here, it’s just the common sense of going above and beyond to make sure everybody’s right. I think it could be done better. I don’t usually jump on people because this is a situation that is hard and we all make mistakes.
“But common sense wasn’t used and the communication was a joke.”
Motherwell’s manager has spoken to both of the players affected, who will also miss the Well’s League Cup last 16 tie with St Johnstone next weekend. Robinson is keen to stress the Fir Park clubs have did no wrong.
“I have spoken to Allan and Barry,” Robinson confirmed. “Our Covid officer met and tested them on Wednesday at their hotel, as we did with Declan Gallagher and Stephen O’Donnell (who were on Scotland duty).
“We didn’t have to do that. We do it because we want to be ultra-safe. Both tested negative and that was above and beyond protocol. That’s what we do to keep the environment safe.
“Other people tested positive and we weren’t aware of it, putting people in our environment at risk. There was an obvious concern. Maybe the national team should be testing them before they get off a plane.
“It would maybe have been wiser to inform everyone and we would then take the appropriate actions we’ve took in the past. Motherwell have did everything they can.”