‘The laughing stock of world football’ - Jim Goodwin rounds on SPFL over St Mirren-Hibs keeper fiasco

Paisley manager incredulous that league refused to postpone Premiership fixture

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 10:47 pm
Hearts goalkeeper Bobby Zlamal was an emergency loan signing for St Mirren. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Hearts goalkeeper Bobby Zlamal was an emergency loan signing for St Mirren. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

A “flabbergasted” Jim Goodwin has condemned the SPFL, claiming they threatened to turn the Scottish game into “the laughing stock of world football”.

The St Mirren manager was incredulous after the league refused to postpone the Premiership fixture with Hibernian, despite the fact that two of the Paisley club’s goalkeepers had tested positive during routine Covid-19 screening and a third keeper was instructed to isolate as a precaution after coming into close contact with the others in training.

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That left St Mirren without cover, less than 24 hours from kick off, and Goodwin says that should have been enough to see the game rescheduled. They eventually signed Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal on an emergency loan shortly before kick-off.

“I was flabbergasted at the decision,” said Goodwin after watching his side lose 3-0 at home to Hibs. “It was a ridiculous situation we found ourselves in on Friday and I don’t think any of us expected to be forced to play the game.

“We felt that given the fact we had no recognised goalkeeper available registered at the club the authorities would have seen sense. “We felt they would have shown some compassion to our situation. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and we were told the game would have to go ahead regardless.

“In the circumstances that we find ourselves in, it’s not easy to find keepers who have been tested. Thankfully, Hearts were able to give us Bobby [Zlamal] but the whole situation has been a disaster.”

Goodwin says that if they had been unable to recruit on an emergency basis, they would have had to field an outfield player in goals, making a mockery of the Scottish game.

“Our argument to the league was that we, as a country, are trying to publicise the game in a positive light. But we would have been the laughing stock of world football if we had a Premiership team putting an outfield player in goals for a competitive game. It would have been ridiculous,” he said.

“You’re looking to your league for some leadership and some compassion.”

But having been denied that, Goodwin says Scottish football needs to learn from the debacle. “It’s really disappointing and hopefully no other club finds themselves in this situation. I’m hoping to speak to the SPFL tomorrow or Monday and find out why they thought this was OK.

“The lesson that should be learned from this situation is if it happens throughout the goalkeeping department, let’s just show a little bit of common sense.”

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