St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin has taken aim at the Rangers players accused of breaking strict Covid protocols – claiming their actions could threaten the remainder of the season.
Gers issued a statement confirming they had launched an internal probe into allegations that up to five of their players had attended a house party against government guidelines. And Goodwin believes the club should throw the book at those involved if the incident is found to be true.
The Irishman did, however, absolve manager Steven Gerrard of blame but admitted he does worry the government could potentially swoop in and curtail the season if issues like this one continue to happen.
“It’s really disappointing to hear what’s gone on over the weekend with the Rangers players,” he said. “I don’t hold Steven Gerrard or Rangers Football Club responsible for this. The players who are involved in it need to take full accountability for their actions.
“No doubt Rangers will punish them financially and take as much money off them as possible. And no doubt the SFA and SPFL will step in and dish out the suspensions required.
“The last thing any of us want is the government stepping in and cancelling football. That’s not good for any of us. We’ve come through a hell of a lot together in terms of the challenges and the difficulties we have all faced and we all want to get the season finished.
“Unfortunately, like in any society, there are one or two individuals who let you down and that’s what’s happened again on this occasion. We’ve had a number of isolated incidents that quite simply should not have occurred.
“Ignorance isn’t an excuse any longer and they’ll get no sympathy from anyone. There are people missing funerals all over the world, like the high-profile one of Jurgen Klopp, whose mother passed away in Germany, and it beggars belief that you can’t be there for that kind of occasion.
“Missing going to parties or being out with pals is a small sacrifice to have to make in order to get the season completed.”
Goodwin yesterday celebrated new deals for himself and assistant Lee Sharp with the Buddies but he won’t be content until he has persuaded the signings he has made since returning to Paisley in the summer of 2019 to extend their stays as well.
The former Alloa boss kept the club up in his first season on charge and a victory over Hamilton at the SMISA Stadium tomorrow night will see them return to the top six in place of Dundee United.
It has been a roller-coaster of a campaign for the Irishman, who has had to contend with multiple Covid-19 issues (which were never mentioned during coaching courses) but has also masterminded BetFred Cup wins over Aberdeen and Rangers (their only domestic reverse in 2020/21) as well as a first victory at Celtic Park for 31 years.
He spoke last week of his ambition to work at the highest level but the Saints board have moved quickly to extend his stay from 2022 to 2024 and Goodwin now wants his star men to match his commitment.
“We’ll definitely be trying to do that: in fact, some of those conversations are taking place at the moment,” he said.
“Those were discussions we had been having when the club first approached me regarding my own situation. I think it’s important for the players that I brought to the club to know that I’ve shown that level of commitment.
“Now, hopefully, they’ll follow me and want to commit themselves as well. They’re a really happy bunch at the moment: they enjoy coming into training and we all have a really good working relationship.
“There are a number of players whom we’re desperate to keep and I want them to play a big part in the project we have going on here: they’ve played a big part up until now but I also want them to be involved in the great things that are coming.”