St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin says he’s hopeful that clubs across the SPFL can end their Covid-19 testing routines once Scotland goes back to some sort of normality.
August 9th has been set as a potential date for the country to remove all major Covid-19 restrictions, most of which have been in place since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Footballers have been living inside isolated bubbles during the pandemic but Goodwin hopes the end is near, his players and staff taking Covid-19 tests multiple times a week.
He explained: “We have been fortunate here and that’s credit to everyone working behind the scenes. We put a huge amount of responsibility on the players away from the club and at the moment everything is going very smoothly for us, but that can all change very, very quickly.
“We know because it’s very difficult to control what’s happening out there. I think now, the public are desperate to get back to some normality and I think the vaccine programme will help with that.
“There’s no dialogue as to what happens next (after August 9th). I’m desperate to do away with testing. It’s a huge frustration for every club and it is a huge expense. Hopefully that happens around then.”
Covid-19 issues are still impacting Scottish clubs, Ross County forced to forfeit their opening Premier Sports Cup match against Forfar Athletic due to a virus outbreak. As things open back up, Goodwin says situations like this are almost inevitable.
The St Mirren manager said: “The numbers are, unfortunately, heading in the wrong direction, but we can only do the best we can. You feel for the teams who are having these issues. You speak about Ross County and we all hope that everybody is okay and nobody is too badly affected.
“I know what Malky Mackay will be going through because we’ve been there ourselves. Hopefully those boys will be back as soon as possible. It might even be more difficult to control things this year. At least last year, the players and staff weren’t able to go to pubs and restaurants and there wasn’t any real socialising.
“Whereas this year, everything is pretty much back up and running, albeit with restrictions in place. There’s a time for precaution and I do think we need to come out of it in a steady manner, but I hope there’s no setbacks along the way. We’ve had a long 18 months of being locked up and being told what to do and where to go and when to do it.”
On the pitch, Goodwin says his St Mirren squad is almost finished ahead of the new Premier Sports Cup campaign and cinch Premiership season, having signed five new players this summer: “I’m really pleased with the recruitment we’ve done up to now. We are still a couple players short of where we’d like to be.
“But for where we are in the season, I am very pleased. We have brought in a really good calibre of player. There are a number of players who want play regularly and if not given the opportunity to do so here, they may ask if we can come to some agreement. But at the moment I don’t need to chase anybody out the door.”
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