On a yellow... but can Scottish football avoid red card after Covid-19 breaches?

Boli Bolingoli, left, was a late substitute in Celtic's 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock on Sunday
Boli Bolingoli, left, was a late substitute in Celtic's 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock on Sunday

"Consider today the yellow card. The next time it will be the red card because you will leave us with absolutely no choice."

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon left Scottish football with no room for misinterpretation on Tuesday when she addressed Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli's lockdown breach.

The Belgian flew to Spain last week, failed to quarantine on his return, then played in a match. That came just days after eight Aberdeen players had to apologise after two contracted coronavirus.

Four of the first 18 Scottish Premiership matches of the term have now been postponed, with football authorities scrambling to limit the damage.

They have offered to "work on a range of measures" but how much can the game do? The top-flight managers have been considering that question...

'We can't lock players up' - what can clubs do?

Only so much, says Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer.

Covid-19 protocols are in place but, beyond reiterating them to the players, clubs have limited control over what their employees do in their own time.

"It's trying times, but all you can do is try and look after your own house and do the best you can," said Dyer, who received an apology from Celtic after they fielded Bolingoli at Rugby Park on Sunday.

"When the players are in, you do your best with them, but once they go outside off on their own you can't lock them up. You have to trust them."

'We know our responsibilities' - how does a club deal with a positive test?

Aberdeen players 'full of regret' over pub visit - McInnes

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin now has a free midweek after his team's game with Celtic on Wednesday was postponed.

Last month, a member of the club's backroom contracted Covid-19, causing the cancellation of a pre-season friendly. Initially, seven members of staff returned positive tests, only for six to prove false.

"We had a circumstance a couple of weeks ago where one of our staff's partners unfortunately brought it back to the house from work," explained Goodwin. "He picked it up. We were quite fortunate at the time to be able to contain it."

'My job is on the line' - what are the consequences?

Livingston head coach Gary Holt fears failure to adhere to the guidelines could "cost people's jobs, not just mine".

"We need to learn from it or football will get stopped," he said. "You then cannot turn round and say 'you have not been told'. Hopefully people's livelihoods, people's lives, mean more than going out for something to eat or disappearing to some other country and not following the protocols."

'Further rule-breaking will cost jobs... including mine' - Livingston boss Holt

For the game's administrators, rearranging fixtures is an additional headache in a season like no other.

SPFL operations director Iain Blair said earlier this summer than there is only one free date in the calendar to fit in postponed games.

"We have only been able to restart matches thanks to the enormous efforts and sacrifices of literally thousands of people across the Scottish game," said SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster.

"Everyone knows that this season's fixture schedule is already horrendously tight without having to reschedule matches because of the irresponsible actions of a handful of players."

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