Scotland boss Steve Clarke reassures club managers in wake of Celtic statement

Steve Clarke insists club managers should have full confidence that Scotland are following coronavirus guidelines to the letter.

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 4:35 pm
Scotland manager Steve Clarke.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke.

Celtic say they will be monitoring discussion on whether it is right for club sides to release players for international duty after seeing Israel full-back Hatem Abd Elhamed become the fourth member of their squad forced to self-isolate this week ahead of Saturday's Old Firm clash.

Hoops midfielder Ryan Christie will sit out the game with Rangers after he and former Parkhead team-mate Kieran Tierney were ruled to have been in close contact with Stuart Armstrong following the Southampton midfielder's positive test for Covid-19 last week after joining the Scotland camp.

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But Clarke insists the Scottish Football Association have done all they can to protect the players, saying: "I think we've done that, I think the protocols that we've put in place have been proven. We had the Covid incident when we first got to the camp and since then all have tested negative.

"This morning in particular we'd have been getting a wee bit further into the period where you'd be getting nervous about it but everyone has come back negative.

"It means that Dr John MacLean and our head of performance Graeme Jones, who are responsible for those Covid protocols, have got it right."

But Clarke admits he may not be the best person to ask about the sense in playing international football amid a global pandemic as without it, he would be unemployed.

"I've got sympathy for everybody who is affected by the Covid virus, whether it is football or outside of football," he said.

"If there was no international football, I wouldn't have a job. If it wasn't for the international game, I wouldn't be working.

"Listen it's part of the calendar. Club football comes back, international football comes back.

"We're all doing the best we can in a difficult situation to get the football season played, so I don't think I'm the one to judge on the fixtures and who should be doing what.

"If we're asked to play the games, then that is what we'll do."

Scotland are in action on Wednesday evening when they take on Czech Republic in a Nations League match at Hampden.