Yet another positive test disclosed this evening continues to rip the heart out of the Celtic squad ahead of the Glasgow Derby.
So many stories of test, isolation, possible withdrawal of players from this increasingly ridiculous international period. And this evening brings one more.
Ryan Christie, Odsonne Edouard and Nir Bitton are already having to isolate due to positive tests from themselves or others in close contact with them. The Irish squad are awaiting the news from a second test this evening which may or may not affect Shane Duffy as we await news if it is him or he has been in close contact with the as yet unnamed player who has tested positive.
Celtic were very strong in their statement yesterday when news of Nir Bitton’s positive test with the Israeli squad had been revealed. Unsurprisingly there was talk of the club having formally requested the return of their international players. That may have been submitted as a request but it’s becoming too late as more positives or needs to isolate clock up. The players are being returned, just not how we’d want to see it happen.
Following the news regarding Elhamed, a further Celtic statement has been issued. It continues the frustrated theme of the previous one and again highlights the difficulty with FIFA regulations:
“We are, of course, disappointed and frustrated that another player on international duty has tested positive – during an international period which is continuing to present huge challenges for the Club.”
“During the remainder of this international period, as we have done throughout, we will be maintaining close contact with the relevant international associations, in order to ensure everything possible is being done with regards to the care and protection of our players, something which must be a priority.”
“While FIFA regulations determine that clubs are obliged to release players for international duty, going forward we are sure wider discussions will take place around this hugely important issue. We will monitor these discussions closely.”
It is safe to say that the fans were not happy:
It was possible to see ways to get around the gaps these players would leave when it comes to the derby match, that’s becoming more difficult. But the Celtic spirit and squad will dig in and deal with this. What happens behind the scenes with regulations for future releases of players remains to be seen. Hopefully the club won’t be letting this one go cold.