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Highland League: Nine Nairn County players still in self-isolation prompted Keith call-off

Nairn County chairman Donald Matheson.
Nairn County chairman Donald Matheson.

Nairn County chairman Donald Matheson insists they could not have got players available for the now-postponed Highland League game with Keith.

The Wee County saw their second game of the season called off on Tuesday night, with nine players in a two-week self-isolation after one of their team-mates tested positive.

It saw Nairn’s opening league game – the derby with Clach – called off prior to the weekend and will also see their fixture at Keith on Saturday shelved.

The club had been in discussions this week regarding the timeframe of the isolation period, with the advice they were given indicating it would expire late on Saturday night.

 

Initially they had been told 15 players would have to self-isolate after the positive case, which was reported on November 24. However, after speaking to NHS Highland and with intervention from the Scottish FA’s Covid officer, six players were released from that and able to return to work.

Matheson said: “Everyone is available from Sunday morning, which is not much use. The boys are disappointed not to get a game going but safety is paramount. Once we’re over the weekend then it’s straight into the Scottish Cup the weekend after, so we should have everyone back for that.

“You’re disappointed because you want to get a couple of games under your belt before the Scottish Cup but you take it as it comes. There’s nothing else you can do about it, just make sure everyone is fit and healthy.

“We might get one back on Thursday but you’re still eight short. I think six or seven of that would have been first-team starters. You’re hog-tied with it, there’s nothing you can do. It’s better than the original 15 and at least some guys – the ones who are allowed to – have been able to get some training in, which is good.”

Jamie Durent: Nairn County’s Covid episode can serve as a timely reminder

Nairn’s next fixture is a home one at Station Park, with Threave Rovers due to visit in the Scottish Cup on December 12.

Restrictions will be tightened further at the home of the one-time league champions, in order to prevent anything similar happening again in the future.

Matheson added: “We’re going to adjust the protocols we got from the SFA and make them more sturdy. My manager, secretary and myself have had a meeting about and have been reviewing things at Station Park.

“We’ve got to be on our A-game. I’ll be walking round the park, making sure everyone’s got their masks on and socially-distanced, unless they’re in their family groups. Just to try keep on top of it as much as possible.”

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