It seemed inevitable eventually there would be a positive test at a Scottish Premiership club as part of the top-flight’s return.
From the outside, I was somewhat sceptical over the restart last weekend, based on the protocols which were being implemented, and I’ve been proven right with the two positive tests at Aberdeen.
The protocol for clubs is largely based on good faith and that players and staff will act in a manner which keeps them within the “bubble”. It’s a particularly weak safeguard.
Alongside this, the temptation to still carry out day-to-day activities, and the growing laxity in precautions being taken in the general population, meant it was only a matter of time before someone returned a positive test.
After playing a part in a successful tournament-style season over in the US, I witnessed first-hand the protocols expected to be followed by players.
As a league we were not entirely free from the controversy, as prior to our own start we also had one team caught out by the naivety of a few. This markedly similar incident resulted in the elimination of that team’s participation altogether, which was devastating to those who had followed the rules and also to the fans, sponsors and wider community who were impacted.
While the final guidelines we had to follow were relentlessly strict and burdensome, they were ultimately essential to controlling the contact with anybody outside of our “bubble”.
For us, partners and family were not allowed to enter our home environment after a pre-set tournament start date unless willing to also follow the safety rules.
Meanwhile, trips to shops, cafes and supermarkets were absolutely forbidden for every player, and their respective household members, who had to adhere to the same sanctions once they chose to also be part of the safe zone which was created.
Food was prepared and sent out through contactless delivery for every meal and the league carried out an anonymous honesty scheme, where any players caught in breach of the rules could be called out.
The full guidelines we had to adhere to in the NWSL perhaps would never have been agreed to here because it would be deemed too much, but the control over exposure to any outside contact should certainly still remain one of the greatest priorities for the players and their immediate family.
The return to football is something we are all excited about and hopeful for and – for players – there are additional moral obligations to act in a way which exceeds the precautions taken by the general public.
Whether fair or not, the ramifications and scrutiny over us is far greater than most, but ultimately we are the greatest beneficiaries because we get to play football every day and earn money doing so.
Of course, we all want many things to be able to return as they were before and I certainly didn’t enjoy living in the environment we were asked to in the United States.
It was extremely isolating, I really missed being able to go to certain cafes and food stops and the daily tick-box requirements became draining over time. However, the bigger picture meant it was a very small ask for the benefit of having the return of our game.