Former Aberdeen defender Brian Irvine reckons the eight isolating Dons players have to return with a purpose.
Scott McKenna, Craig Bryson, Jonny Hayes, Dylan McGeouch, Matty Kennedy, Bruce Anderson, Sam Cosgrove and Mikey Devlin are all self-isolating, after being caught up in the cluster of fresh cases that emerged in Aberdeen in the last fortnight.
The Dons recorded two positive tests, which prompted the postponing of their game against St Johnstone last weekend. Following Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli’s infraction, flying to Spain last week and then not quarantining on his return, the next two games for Aberdeen and the Hoops were also called off.
The players understandably took criticism from their own supporters in the wake of the incident, with Irvine feeling they need to deliver results to make amends to them.
He said: “It will probably be hard, if they don’t get off to a good start then they’ll get criticised more than normal. That’s the consequences of their actions. If they get good results once they get going then it’ll all be forgotten. That’s just the nature of football.
“The players have been genuinely sorry and that’s the main thing. It’s up to them what they do on the park now.
“I think the club have handled it well. Dave Cormack and the manager spoke really well and the players obviously realised they did something wrong and apologised. They took responsibility and it’s up to the them to do their talking on the park now.
“The players have apologised, so you don’t hark on about it. The apology is genuine so if that’s the case, that’s the end of it. Let the players and team do their talking when they get underway.”
Aberdeen’s next fixture is now their trip to McDiarmid Park to face St Johnstone, rearranged from the weekend and they should have six of the eight players back available.
Sam Cosgrove is ruled out long-term with a knee problem and Mikey Devlin injured his hamstring in pre-season.
Derek McInnes’ side have played just once so far, losing 1-0 to Rangers at Pittodrie on August 1. It was after this game where the eight players went to a city centre venue.
With the Dons and now Celtic out of action, they have both lost ground at the top of the league. Hibernian have been the early pace-setters, with three wins from three, while Rangers won their first two fixtures.
Irvine added: “Although Aberdeen haven’t lost points, they’re not up and running. Hibs have managed to get nine points on the board already. It’s disappointing for Aberdeen they’ve not really got the season underway.”