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Duncan Shearer column: SFA apology – but Aberdeen also need to say sorry after Premiership loss to Rangers

Kemar Roofe scores Rangers' second against Aberdeen on Sunday.
Kemar Roofe scores Rangers' second against Aberdeen on Sunday.

The least the Scottish FA owed Aberdeen and the other clubs affected by their failure to implement proper Covid-19 protocols was an apology.

I can totally understand why Dons boss Derek McInnes is upset at losing the services of Lewis Ferguson, Ross McCrorie and Connor McLennan on Sunday and for the two games his side will play this week.

He claims he only found out they were unavailable by seeing a report on TV. If that is the case, that’s even more appalling.

Aberdeen boss calls for mandatory Covid-19 testing when players return from international duty

When eight Aberdeen players visited a city centre bar after the opening game of the season they were pilloried for it and the club was hauled through the mire. Disciplinary action was taken by Aberdeen, the SFA and the SPFL.

An investigation is now under way following SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell’s apology yesterday.

We already knew a member of the under-21 coaching staff had tested positive before the team travelled to Cyprus for their crucial final game. Given Ross and Robby McCrorie and David Turnbull all subsequently tested positive and 11 members of the under-21 squad are isolating as a result is inexcusable.

There needs to be a shake-up at the SFA over this as it’s not fair clubs that have had to adhere to strict Covid protocols at considerable cost are losing the services of players for games due to their involvement in international football.

Given the relatively short period these players are away on international duty, there is no excuse for the very best of care not being provided for those lucky enough to be chosen to represent their country.

McCrorie would not have featured at Ibrox on Sunday, but the loss of the other two players was a blow for the Dons boss. However, it still does not excuse how poor Aberdeen were against Rangers.

Lewis Ferguson and Ross McCrorie have caught the eye this term – but Aberdeen can pin the 4-0 loss at Rangers entirely on their absence.

I thought long and hard about what I watched on Sunday and I don’t buy that the Dons lost 4-0 because Ferguson and McLennan were not playing. The bench featured some untried youngsters, but the team Derek put out should have been far more competitive than they were.

It’s not as if the guys who came into the side were rookies and the Dons should consider themselves fortunate it was not seven or eight. That’s how poor a display it was for me.

Rangers are going fantastically well at the moment and they were outstanding on Sunday. I’d go so far as to say that was the best performance from any Scottish team I’ve seen so far this season and, while it was unfortunate Aberdeen were on the receiving end, I expected so much more from my old team.

Aberdeen’s Shay Logan, Funso Ojo and Ash Taylor after going 1-0 down against Rangers.

It was a perfect storm in many ways with Celtic slipping up on Saturday just as the Dons found out they would be without Ferguson and McLennan, but it was still a huge let-down for me. Aberdeen are so much better than they showed and I’m sure the manager will be expecting a reaction at Hamilton tomorrow.

Struggling County need to improve fast

Ross County boss Stuart Kettlewell has been protective of his players, but he didn’t miss them with his post-match comments following Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Kilmarnock.

It was clear he was hurting and justifiably so as he would have expected his side to make their extra man count after playing against 10 men for 82 minutes following Stuart Findlay’s early dismissal.

Having seen the incident again, Findlay is right to feel hard done by, too, as I don’t think he did foul Ross Stewart, but the Staggies really squandered a great opportunity to press home their advantage.

They conceded almost immediately, which gave Killie something to hang on to, and then for County to get back on level terms only to concede twice would have hurt even more.

Stuart has talked up his team all season and with good reason. He has some quality players there and if they are not hurting after the weekend then something is wrong. No player can disagree with any of the criticism their manager dished out.

Stuart Kettlewell says Ross County ’need to look at themselves in the mirror and realise they have come up seriously short’

I’ve been there as a player and it’s a horrible feeling, but we all have to have those look in the mirror moments and question whether we’re doing our bit. It’s not a question of effort as clearly it’s there, but County need to be better than what they are showing and looking at the run of matches coming up there is no escape.

They travel to Celtic for their Betfred Cup match this weekend and they then face Rangers in Dingwall before going to Pittodrie to face Aberdeen. They need to find something from somewhere to build some confidence.

Best of season from clinical Caley Jags

Caley Thistle’s 2-0 win against Raith Rovers on Saturday was as impressive as it was important.

I was at Caledonian Stadium and the performance of the home players was easily their best this season.

Boss John Robertson was delighted and so he should be. Miles Storey looked back to his best, while young Roddy MacGregor was outstanding. He is quickly developing into a confident and impressive member of the side.

With Hearts slipping up against Dunfermline and Dundee also losing, Inverness took full advantage by beating the division’s surprise starters Raith with a clinical display and the margin of victory could easily have been greater.

It was a crucial win and one which will give them a platform to build from.

Scott Allardice celebrates his goal during the Scottish Championship match between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Raith Rovers.

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