Manager disappointed by reports of Premiership players being at risk

Sep 17, 2020

Peterhead manager Jim McInally has been disappointed by reports that Premiership clubs are facing an infection risk by playing against Championship, League 1 and 2 teams in the Betfred Cup and that the lower-league outfits are unprepared for the coronavirus tests that will allow them to compete against top-flight sides.

The SPFL are believed to be holding a Board meeting on Friday to discuss drafting emergency measures for the competition however McInally is adamant that clubs from the bottom three tiers who have followed the guidelines are not unfairly blamed for any action taken.

The Balmoor boss does not believe that Premiership clubs are putting themselves at an increased risk by playing in the Betfred Cup as their protective ‘bubbles’ are not robust and Scotland’s longest serving manager believes that recent cases at St Mirren and Hamilton Accies prove his point.

McInally explained: “There is talk of Premiership clubs being in a bubble but in reality, they are not. I can accept that the national side can be placed in a ‘bubble’ for a week or so as they can stay in a hotel, train, eat together and then play their games before returning to their clubs.”

“It was the same for the Europa League and the Champions League and even for test cricket matches over the summer however I do not understand how Premiership clubs can exist in a bubble.”

“For example, their players will predominately be staying at home and mixing with family members who have a life outside of the ‘bubble’. All you need is one player or an official at a club to have a child at school and the bubble no longer exists.”

“To read that they are at greater risk to cross-infection from playing in the Betfred Cup is disappointing.”

As for not being prepared for testing McInally explained: “We start our season with a game against Dundee United on Saturday October 10. We have known for several weeks now that we would have to have our players tested for this game to take place.”

“It is not news to anyone at Peterhead and it will not be news to anyone at the other clubs that are taking part. Plans are in place for it. Also, if you look at pre-season games, clubs are sticking to only playing games of Tested v Tested or Untested v Untested so I am not sure why emergency meetings are now being called for.”

© Craig Stewart/ Peterhead Football Club