Jonathan Obika says that players must be ‘aware’ of their duties in these times after a week of controversy following protocol breaches at Aberdeen and Celtic.
Eight Aberdeen players broke strict virus protocols following the 1-0 defeat on opening day against Rangers, leading to two positive COVID-19 tests. At Celtic, Boli Bolingoli broke them by flying to Spain for a day, failing to isolate whilst continuing to go to work.
It meant that all of Aberdeen and Celtic’s fixtures for the week had to be postponed, including the midweek trip to face Obika’s St Mirren. The Buddies forward says that players have to be careful for the greater good just now.
“We all know our responsibilities, what we have to uphold,” he said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Hamilton. “We know we are being watched, especially at this point in time, we are being watched a lot more closely because our actions can also affect other people.
“The gaffer reiterates to us a few times over the week, but the players know even without these things happening that we are role models to a lot of people and we have to be responsible not only for ourselves but others too.
“We have been told to stay in our own bubbles from training ground to home and we just want everyone to follow the rules. After the incidents, I’ll be surprised if these things happen again.
“I know the First Minister said it’s a yellow card, so we know what’s next. “We need to focus. This is football, it’s our jobs. If it’s football to home, then that’s what it is.”
On the pitch, Obika is the main man up top for St Mirren just now. With only Junior Morias for natural striker cover, manager Jim Goodwin is looking to bring in at least one more attacking option.
It’s something that he’ll hope will aid him in their quest to achieve the primary seasonal target, Premiership safety. It was Obika who secured that last season as the striker looked back on that goal against Hearts and forward to new faces.
“Whenever we were speaking about that game, we just thought it was a six-pointer and we had to make sure we beat them,” Obika said. “When we found out it was the last game of the season, we didn’t know what was going to happen to Hearts. But the fact that we were safe put our minds at rest.
“The fans have been amazing. You get the odd fan coming up to you saying ‘up the St Mirren but I think that’s what you pay football for. To bring happiness to people.
“I feel as players we need to adapt. Different opposition bring different problems. Anything to help the team, as players we are used to a lot of health competition. Last season these games we looked at as the games we must win, we must be on the front foot.
“The boys are looking forward to it. We know against Hamilton it’ll be 50-50 or we will have more possession so we have to start strong.”