Scottish clubs breathed a collective sigh of relief when Holyrood did not shut down football amid the national lockdown.
Those involved in playing or coaching professional sports are exempt from a legally enforceable stay-at-home order which came into force earlier this week.
As the nation faces extreme restrictions to everyday life in the bid to fight the new Covid-19 variant, football has yet again been given special dispensation to carry on.
That is positive news, as there is no doubt having their teams play matches is a connection with normality that brings comfort and stability to many supporters amid increasingly troubled times.
The positive impact on mental health of being emotionally invested in your team playing each week, of having that routine, cannot be underplayed.
Should part-time football be suspended in the wake of tougher Covid-19 lockdown measures? We discussed the issue on this week’s Northern Goal podcast:
Northern Goal is available here.
Football can continue, for now, although the prospect of fans returning even in limited numbers this season are rapidly dwindling away.
No fans for an entire campaign will have cataclysmic repercussions for many Scottish clubs already hanging on by a thread. Clubs are haemorrhaging money, with extremely limited incoming revenue to stem the losses.
Football games thankfully survived this latest lockdown, but I fear not every team will have survived when we emerge from it.
The exemption given to elite athletes by the Scottish Government is a tenuous situation becoming increasingly precarious as infections continue to soar.
Meanwhile, as clubs fight for survival and millions of us can barely leave our homes, Celtic are in Dubai on the most ill-advised trip to the sun since Icarus flew on wings of feathers and wax.
It is freezing in Scotland and Celtic are 19 below in the Premiership table – yet still they jetted off to the UAE.
As the nation is gripped by the stress and fear of another national lockdown, I find it reprehensible Celtic have opted to fly to another continent.
Many of their supporters will have lost their jobs during the pandemic, and will be struggling for money and suffering.
Thousands of Celtic fans will have paid £600 for a season ticket for games in a campaign where there will be no fans inside stadiums.
Many will have been affected directly by the virus, either catching it or having family members who have caught it.
Some will have sadly lost friends or family members to the virus. Football clubs are supposed to set an example – instead Celtic have taken the moral low ground with a grossly misjudged trip.
Celtic insist they gained full approval from the authorities, including the government through the Joint Response Group, before booking their Dubai training camp. That does not make it right.
In response to the Scottish Government statement, the club has issued the following response:
‘The training camp was arranged a number of months ago & approved by all relevant footballing authorities & @scotgov through the Joint Response Group on 12th November 2020.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) January 4, 2021
For the previous four years, Aberdeen had travelled to Dubai for a winter camp. This year they chose not to go – as did Rangers.
There are more pressing matters at home than what factor sun block to use.
Aberdeen need to sign attacking game-changer – or someone already in the building needs to step up
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has confirmed he aims to sign an attacking game-changer during the January transfer window.
He wants a player that can deliver the magic to transform 0-0 stalemates like the draw with Dundee United into wins.
The winter transfer window is traditionally not ideal for securing new signings – let alone game-changers.
Clubs are reluctant to part with key players midway through the season unless there is enough money offered to change their mind.
Aberdeen do not have that cash and are haemorrhaging money due to the ongoing pandemic. Game-changers, let alone goal-scoring ones, do not come cheap as they are a rarified commodity.
Ultimately Aberdeen’s signing policy will rely on outgoings from Pittodrie during the window.
The disappointing spell of Venezuelan international full-back Ronald Hernandez looks set to come to an end. Aberdeen’s strategic partners, MLS side Atlanta United, are reportedly set to move for Hernandez, currently back in Venezuela, on a four-year contract.
Aberdeen are confident that should Hernandez exit they will recoup the £800,000 outlaid in January for him. That should open up funds to bring signings in this month.
However, Sam Cosgrove and Curtis Main, already in the building, could start netting to become what’s required.