Jack Ross was baffled as to why he lost Alex Gogic for his Hibernian side’s 1-0 defeat by Aberdeen after the player recorded two negative Covid-19 tests following one result which caused partial concern.
Hibs revealed Gogic recorded a private test result on Friday which “required further investigation”, but the midfielder was ordered to self-isolate for 10 days by the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Government after two negative results.
To continue a frustrating weekend, Hibs lost their unbeaten Scottish Premiership record after Martin Boyle conceded a soft penalty which Lewis Ferguson scored in the 39th minute at Easter Road.
While not making excuses for the defeat, Ross said: “I don’t think it would be the case for anybody in any other profession that they wouldn’t be able to go to their work, having had a negative NHS Covid test. I can’t get my head round that.”
Gogic will now miss the chance to join his new Cyprus team-mates having won his first international call-up last week.
Ross said: “His first test result was at a level that he was never infectious. I have a player who was never infectious who had two negative tests that can’t play.
“I would imagine that these guidelines were maybe put in place at a different stage of the lockdown for the general public.
“So when we spoke about football being afforded special privileges to return to work, we had to acknowledge that was the case because we were able to return to training at a very different stage in everyone else’s life.
“Now I think we’re at a different stage so I can’t quite comprehend how every other person returning test results like that would be free to go to their work.
“It’s his work, not only at club football but at international football, and he’s not going to be able to do that.”
Ross was also frustrated about the lack of clarity from the SFA over whether his team were able to train on Saturday, eventually taking the cautious approach himself.
“Late afternoon on Friday we found out, 10:30 Friday evening, I still did not know whether I could train on Saturday,” said Ross, who confirmed winger Daryl Horgan was set to join an English club in the coming days.
“I think that’s a long time to get an answer on a pretty straightforward question.
“We never really got clarity on it, we made the decision ourselves. We got a recommendation that perhaps we shouldn’t but that was not definitive.”
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes empathised.
“Every time my medical team send me an email that everyone’s test is negative, it’s a sigh of relief,” he said.
“We had one player before the Rangers game go down exactly the same way, a false positive, two negative tests immediately after, but wasn’t available for 10 days.
“The danger for us as managers if it’s three or four at the one time and it starts to have an impact.”
The Dons boss was also relieved that his substitution mix-up did not cost his team.
McInnes, who made three separate substitutions, said: “I was kicking myself, I made a hash of it there, I should have got fresh legs on.
“When I made my third sub, I should have made more subs.
“I had freshness behind me and my players were running on empty, boys were cramping up. I got away with that one.
“It’s a wee reminder to me that you need to use the five subs thing properly. For whatever reason I thought I’d made a double sub and I still had one stoppage left.
“I got away with it because my team were good enough and had big hearts and kept Hibs’ threat to a minimum.”