UEFA’s return-to-play rules were simple. If you have 13 players fit, you play the game.
If you don’t, you could forfeit the match. It was black and white in their Champions League final-eight rules.
Scotland’s top-flight clubs should adopt that same policy right now so there’s no future arguing and no debates.
Celtic or Rangers could lose half a dozen players ahead of an Old Firm game but, if it happens, we shouldn’t hear a word of complaint.
If we start calling games off it could have catastrophic consequences.
It might not just be three points a team loses. The snowball effect could shut the game down and see clubs who are already under savage financial pressure get into trouble they just can’t escape.
Just take a look at Macclesfield this week if you need an example.
We have signed up for this strange season. In order to get the game back and matches to be played, we had to accept the problems that could come with it.
No matter how badly anyone gets smacked by the consequences of an outbreak within a squad, you are just going to have to suck it up.
Would it be fair? No. But this whole campaign isn’t fair in many respects and there is no point trying to pretend unfortunate things are not going to happen through the season.
The second wave of Covid is on the way. That seems obvious as the numbers rise in terms of cases. Clubs, generally, are doing a great job with their bubbles.
It’s important they come to agreement that they will play the games no matter what. There should be no grey area.
No one deserves to have three keepers sidelined but it’s hardly as if he was asked to play the kitman in goal.
The SPFL allowed him to go out and sign an emergency loan in Zdenek Zlamal. Arguably one who is better than his first pick Jak Alnwick.
Managers these days have perfected the art of being car salesmen when it comes to dealing with their directors.
Jumbling things up in jargon to confuse the suits and keep them happy. But don’t go too far.
Apparently, it was tough for Zlamal because he had to take an awful lot of information on board just prior to last week’s game against Hibs. An awful lot of information? On what?
Do we play out from the back, or do we go long? Do I come for crosses or do the defenders deal with them from six yards out?
Do I give it to this centre-back or that one as who’s better on the ball? If I go long, will I aim for the right or the left touchline? And there you go, that’s about it. There’s your information to a keeper.
It made for a good narrative but in the end it was the outfield players who lost them the game. Not the keeper. And he was outstanding in midweek, saving a penalty from Odsonne Edouard.
Then Jim and the ex-chairman Stewart Gilmour came out with the obligatory, “You wouldn’t have told the Old Firm to have done it.” Oh, spare us. But the one thing is now they will do. The precedent is set. And so they should.
The entire league knows the games have to be played and we can’t be calling for cancellations.
The government wouldn’t need to be asked twice to shut it down if they could, so let’s not give them an open goal.
Football must show it can look after its own affairs, keep the testing rigorous, catch the positive results and deal with the situation like adults when they, inevitably, hit your squad.
Take the medicine.
What do you think might happen if a team gets four or five injuries in training in the build-up to a crucial game?
Would they suddenly play the Covid cases card and look to get a game off? I’m not accusing anyone. I’m just asking the question.
Scotland doesn’t need conspiracy theories and accusations. Not in this season of all seasons when it comes to the Old Firm. Just set the rules in place, make an agreement and get on with it.
Throughout the next few months, clubs are going to get good and bad breaks with this. Your opponents might get decimated, you might be left fielding kids to complete a team and fulfil a fixture.
But that’s the point. We need to fulfil them. Clubs need football as does society. So much has been lost and, although the game is not perfect at the moment behind closed doors, it is giving people something to cling to and enjoy.
It was bad enough having one season finish early, we can’t have another. We can’t have comebacks and complaints if things happen. Put rules in place now.
And don’t complain if your squad gets hammered by cases one day. Because everyone is going to suffer at