As two high profile player breaches from within Aberdeen and Celtic threatened to derail the Scottish Premiership season, the finger of blame has been pointed in several directions.
The eight Aberdeen players who visited city-centre pubs, breached the three-household rule and ended up becoming exposed to the coronavirus during an outbreak have been suitably gutted.
Their statement of apology was almost as pathetic as their performance against Rangers at Pittodrie which drove the players to drink in the first place.
Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli too has released a sheepish apology for the most brazen breach yet when he flew off to Spain for an as-of-yet unconfirmed length of time.
Visiting a country where there’s a two-week quarantine rule upon return is bad enough but keeping it from club officials and then playing against Kilmarnock is about a million times worse.
It’s had several fans, pundits, officials slaughtering the Belgian full-back but Celtic and Aberdeen haven’t been without their own share of the blame.
Whilst their matches have been postponed during the isolation period, there are more than a few Rangers fans and pundits who want to see punishments being handed out to the clubs.
After all, clubs are fined when they can’t control their players or fans in any other determination so it is quite frankly ludicrous that they skip responsibility when it comes to a potentially deadly virus.
There’s no doubt about it – the book should’ve been thrown at both Celtic and Aberdeen, and Rangers too if they’d been involved.
So where then, does this abject lack of responsibility truly lay, to where do we truly apportion the blame?
Hampden and the SPFL.
Having the game shut down for good would’ve represented the mother of all cock-ups for the game’s executive and if they could survive dodgy voting scandals, they surely won’t survive that.
It is incredible that despite having months to prepare for the restart there isn’t a strict set of protocol rule breach guidelines ranging from suspensions to docked points.
If Celtic knew there was any threat of them losing ground in the title race, do you really think they’d have lost tabs of their unruly left-back?
The same goes for Aberdeen.
Whilst the players absolutely need to take responsibility, human beings will simply operate in and test the parameters of the environment in which they’re kept.
Clubs must have greater control over their players during this period, but the SPFL had to exert greater influence over the clubs.
The infrastructure was not in place to effectively prevent breaches such as this happening and anything that happens under the umbrella of Scottish football comes under the remit of the SPFL.
Don’t just take my word for it either.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been considerably frosty on the subject and dished out a yellow card to Scottish football for the second high-profile breach in roughly a week.
Whilst she made mention of Bolingoli and of the two clubs, her ire was clearly more transfixed on the game’s executive.
National clinical director Jason Leitch was at the forefront of the government’s handling of the situation but Sturgeon made it clear what she expected going forward.
The First Minister demanded clear penalties to be imposed by the nation’s game on anyone breaking the rules saying, “I don’t want people who are not responsible for this to pay the price but we have to be very clear: this situation is not acceptable” [The Guardian].
Sturgeon has challenged the SPFL to explain “how they were going to put their house in order”.
Players and clubs share a massive responsibility for keeping the football season alive during the coronavirus pandemic.
But if anyone’s in any doubt about where to point the finger of blame if these series of cock-ups continue, then there’s only one place to look.