The SFA post-lockdown rules which could help Celtic avoid another Covid calamity

By Euan Davidson

July 8, 2021

Celtic and Covid. The two words you don’t want to see together in a headline.

After the chaos of 20-21, and football going ahead despite so much working against it, we’re finally seeing lockdown coming to a close. Whether or not that’s for the best is your own call to make [BBC].

Now, this isn’t to say Celtic were affected worst by the pandemic, but we hardly came through unscathed. Multiple times, key players were missing, by virtue of being close contacts with a positive case.

Think Ryan Christie missing important games [Scotsman], and the post-Dubai calamity [Irish Times]. There’s even a hip, trendy example, in James Forrest having to self-isolate at the time of writing.

Those pesky “Close contact” rules could be a thing of the past, though. The SFA, according to the Sun, will allow some more flexibility in this regard, provided Scotland leaves lockdown as planned on the 9th of August. According to the newspaper, daily lateral flow tests will prevent players from having to self-isolate for ten days.

The Sun reports:

“Presently, players who are deemed close contacts with colleagues are forced out of the game for ten days even if they post negative results. 

“But as society is fully opened up by the country’s political leaders and social distancing is largely scrapped, plans are in place to allow healthy stars to take daily lateral flow tests instead of isolating in a bid to keep the game going.

“Assuming players continually test negative for the ten-day period, they will be able to continue training and playing – ensuring the game doesn’t grind to a halt even if community transmission spikes further.”

That means we can avoid repeats of the Hibs game in January, or potentially decimated squads in huge clashes, like the first Glasgow Derby of 20-21 [Sky Sports].

So, good news, then.

Celtic Covid news is a blessing, provided it’s carried out properly

While the reliability of Lateral Flow Tests is disputed [Pharmaceutical Journal], it’s probably a step in the right direction.

During the Euros, this approach has been taken instead of the blanket self-isolation procedure that came before. It’s why, when John Fleck tested positive in the Scotland camp [Daily Record], “close contacts” only had to miss one game.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Whether it’s the safest approach is subjective. Obviously, where possible, self-isolating is preferable. In our own lives, it’s the more cautious choice. Taking daily tests remains, even in self-isolation, surely remains the best practice anyway.

However, from Celtic’s point of view, it’s great news. And it could help us out now. Provided James Forrest is able to record negative tests through his own self-isolation, he could be in line to return against FC Midtjylland. Hypothetically speaking, anyway.

So, fewer Celtic Covid stories are likely to emerge in 21-22. Hallelujah.

READ MORE: Ah, but if Forrest can’t make it, what then?