Celtic boss Neil Lennon has shown his class as he expressed sympathy for St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin’s “really difficult” situation.
St Mirren have been struck with a goalkeeping crisis over the last week after all of their senior shot-stoppers were ruled out due to Covid.
The SPFL, however, didn’t allow their game against Hibernian to be postponed on Saturday. Saints had to scramble to get a goalkeeper in, and did so in Hearts man Zdenek Zlamal.
And Lennon has moved to wish all of the stricken St Mirren boys well ahead of our trip there tonight, but did look to dismiss a popular media narrative this week in that their game should’ve been called off.
As quoted by the Daily Record, Lennon said: “First of all I am hoping the guys recover. We send our best wishes from Celtic. For me, players are young, fit and healthy enough to overcome this with isolation with the help in place and move on. Thankfully we have had plenty of testing and have all been negative.
“It’s unprecedented, really. The chances of that happening are thousands to one (all three goalkeepers being out).
“I’m not convinced that calling the game off would have been an ideal scenario either. But then I totally sympathise with Jim’s situation. It obviously had an affect on their result.”
Lennon showing an urge for football to crack on
There’s been a bit of a popular narrative from certain pundits this week who believe that St Mirren’s game vs Hibs should’ve been off. Either that or they feel the story would’ve been different had it been Celtic or Rangers who had been struck.
Kris Commons was the first to talk about it in his Daily Mail column (14/09, Verdict supplement, page 16). He said: “If Celtic had to face Rangers with, say, James Forrest in goals, there would be carnage. Let’s not pretend otherwise. But it wouldn’t even get to that stage because, 100 per cent, the league would postpone the game.”
Former St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour spoke along the same lines to on BBC Sportsound this week too. Gilmour quipped: “Are you trying to tell me that in the Old Firm game, if that happens, the game will take place? I don’t believe that, and if you believe that I think you believe in the tooth fairy. Honestly.”
However, Lennon is spot on. We can’t keep turning the game off whenever there is a hint of a scare regarding positive tests. So long as the cases are being isolated and dealt with by the football clubs, it’s important that we keep charging on.
Football, just like plenty of other industries, has lost a lot of time and money already to the pandemic. It’s important to be reasonable as to when to lose more of it in what is a delicate period for Scotland and the UK as a whole.
St Mirren’s plans may have been affected for last week’s game with Hibs, but that’s unfortunately what’s going to happen as the season rolls on for most clubs.