Scottish Govt official warns against huddles, celebrations and diving ahead of Premiership kick-off

By John McGinley

July 19, 2020

Scotland’s National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch has urged footballers not to engage in on the pitch activities that could pose a health risk during the ongoing pandemic, speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday.

The Scottish Premiership is due to return next month and it poses all sorts of challenges for clubs up and down the league.

Initially, games will be played behind closed doors but that’s not the only safety consideration to take into account.

Otherwise normal footballing actions such as passionate goal celebrations and, perhaps, even the famous Celtic huddle will apparently be a no-no for Scottish Government health officials.

Professor Leitch has been a prominent media figure throughout the pandemic and his latest comments with regards to football demonstrate the unusual position that Neil Lennon’s Bhoys will be in.

Speaking on BBC football show Off The Ball yesterday, he said: “There are two things here; there is the safety of the 23 people on the grass which is crucial.

“We don’t want big goal celebrations, no big huddles or folk falling on the floor.

“We also don’t want people pretending to have a broken leg so that we put other people at risk coming on to help them with their pretend broken leg.

“So there are behaviours on the pitch but there is also the influence that behaviour will have on the amateur game and the kids who are playing at the weekends now and all of that.”

Ultimately, while this guidance is a bit of buzzkill, anything that allows football to go ahead without any undue risk to players should be adhered to.

Celtic players celebrate a goal against Livingston last season / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

What matters most is that Celtic are playing again and, eventually, that fans are allowed back into stadiums in big numbers.

Health officials are clearly going to watching the football industry very closely to ensure everything is being done to prevent the risk of transmitting the virus and clubs need to be on board with that.

If everyone plays their part it hopefully won’t be long until normal traditions resume.

In other news, Scott McDonald has revealed Shunsuke Nakamura’s unbelievable dedication to Celtic.