EK Thistle manager Ian Diack has linked Celtic and their Dubai trip with the closure of the lower leagues in Scotland.

The SFA announced yesterday that leagues from League One downward would be paused for three weeks. This was due to the increased rate of Covid in Scotland combined with the additional issues that can arise with part-time players.

Interestingly, it came on the same day that Celtic were told by the Scottish Government that 16 players and staff members had to self-isolate. Therefore, it’s easy to link the bickering between the Hoops and the government to the decision to pause football.

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West of Scotland outfit EK Thistle are one of the clubs who’ll have to stop. And speaking in the Daily Record, their manager Diack took aim at Celtic.

“It’s just one of those things where you feel harshly done-by at the minute. The top flight have their responsibility, and I don’t think that’s been adhered to as well as they probably could. The Celtic stuff is all well documented but I think they’ve shown a lack of respect and it has now filtered down into us unduly, which is a shame.

“If you look at the lower leagues I don’t think there have been many teams who have had to cancel games through having Covid cases, so I think all the smaller clubs and players have been following it. These guys have day jobs as well to go into, so I think we are being punished to a degree.

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“I can only speak personally, but our Covid officer is on the ball with stuff, we’ve followed every protocol that we’ve been asked, and we haven’t had one single case of it, which is obviously credit to him and the boys for watching what they’re doing outside of football.”

 

Credit EK Thistle for their Covid handling; but Celtic had nothing to do with cancellation

This, for me, is just an unfair accusation to put towards Celtic. Off the bat, however, we can totally understand EK and many other side’s frustrations. They must look at Celtic heading to Dubai and think it’s a different world altogether.

But they’re aiming at the wrong target here. As morally wrong as our trip to Dubai was, it had no effect on the decision to cancel the lower leagues for several weeks. SFA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell has already said that they’re two totally different matters. He effectively absolved Celtic from any sort of blame here (The Scotsman).

In addition to that, the government are looking to introduce heavier restrictions across the board in Scotland. This isn’t just limited to football. There are concerns over how many people are complying with the stay at home message. There is already plenty of speculation over click-and-collect services for example (Scottish Sun).

The Celtic crest

The Celtic crest (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The government are clearly looking at as many ways to tighten restrictions logically as possible. Pausing lower-league football that is already taking place behind closed doors they clearly felt was worth recommending to the SFA.

But it certainly is a concern. With no signs that lockdown will end anytime soon, there are no signs the lower leagues will return in three weeks either. In fact, goodness knows what direction the Premiership and Championship leagues will go in over the coming weeks.

It’s extremely worrying for clubs that still have bills to pay over the next several months. Especially in the lower rungs of the game. Hopefully, some financial support can be put together to avoid any catastrophes from happening to the wide Scottish game.

In other news, 67HH writer Euan Davidson gives his verdict on why it’s time for Celtic to start their restructuring now.

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