It’s no longer injuries and suspensions

Date: 10th November 2020

The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

It’s no longer injuries and suspensions…

With the news during the week that a couple of Rangers fringe players, Jordan Jones and George Edmundson, have been suspended by the club, that the Scottish Government have commended their swift action, that some have questioned the approach taken with Rangers when Celtic and Aberdeen got hammered for similar infractions and Kilmarnock and St. Mirren have been debated as they face further investigations over further questions about COVID-19, things look rather bizarre.

During any run where there are losses and bad results, it would always be the defeated manager who could drop in the tired phrases, well we have had a lot of injuries of late or the second stop on the excuse avenue, we have had key players out due to suspension.

Of course, injuries are hard to litigate against. They happen. You have to get past them and manage your squad the best way that you can. All managers have to deal with them and to be fair, it is a legitimate excuse.

The loss of players due to suspension can often be put down to the players themselves being to blame. A stupid second yellow causes hearts to flutter when a team are close to silverware. Though, in the Brian Reid era at Ayr United, star midfielder Ryan Stevenson, as we were close to the play off semi-finals was one booking away from suspension, so Reid sent him on in the final game of the season to get that yellow card. Suspended for the semi-final, ready for the final without that worry hanging over him.

But now we have a new stop in the excuse avenue – COVID-19.

Barry Ferguson asked if both Jones and Edmundson could get the trust of their colleagues back after the revelation that they had tested positive. They could possibly nip into Paisley or down Ayrshire way for tips but the fact is that a combination of hard luck OR simply breaking the rules is the way to contract the disease.

These are two players hardly in the centre of Rangers’ resurgence and the cynical amongst us could argue that making examples of a couple of guys who’s game time does not add up to a first half this season is an easy PR win. For Celtic having a guy hopping onto a plane, going to Spain, coming back, playing a game against Kilmarnock afterwards and not cracking a light about it is a different league entirely.

What might be interesting is that the investigation into Kilmarnock may uncover information or evidence that could present the SFA with a second Aberdeen issue. Both Celtic and Aberdeen were unfortunate I think because of the scale of what happened and also, they were the first. Had it been a Cove Rangers night out it would have died in the press pretty quickly.

But it leaves us fans with the possibility that our teams might not be able to finish games comfortably because a couple of our players, due to nipping into their mate’s house for a party, has led to them sitting at home in self isolation when a game that is vitally important is being played. You could argue this has already happened with the Auld Firm.

Does it diminish the season? To a certain extent but it also makes things more interesting…

Had it been Goldson or Tavernier or Morelos who had broke the rules, what would have happened then? It is unfair to speculate but then again when it came to opinions, how many people get upset because those opinions are unfair… probably all of us to be fair…

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