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Robertson insists players being treated like ‘cattle’ being denied showers after games

John Robertson.
John Robertson.

Caley Thistle manager John Robertson feels players are being treated like “cattle” by not being provided with showers after matches.

Inverness face Hearts in tonight’s Betfred Cup group match at Tynecastle, in their first competitive outing in more than six months following the early curtailment of last season due to coronavirus.

Current guidelines prevent players outwith the top-flight using shower facilities after training and matches, which irked Robertson in the wake of Saturday’s rainswept 1-1 friendly draw at home to Elgin City.

Robertson has called for an urgent rethink of the regulations in order to protect the health and wellbeing of players.

He said: “Saturday was a wake-up call for the authorities to look at a couple of things.

“I’d imagine like most matches in the country, our players were soaked to the skin and Elgin had seven lads who had to travel back to Glasgow.

“I don’t understand where the scientific aspect is for not having showers after games, socially-distanced and in limited numbers at a time?

“You can’t possibly ask our players to play down south when we have matches at Queen of the South in Dumfries, Ayr, Morton and Arbroath where we could be sitting on the bus for four or five hours, having done nothing more than towel ourselves dry.

“You can go to the local gym, do a work-out and have a shower, yet football players seem to be getting treated like cattle.

“You’re asking elite athletes not to have a shower after the game, soaking wet. Surely that brings on colds, flu and illness.”

Robertson will travel to Tynecastle with a stretched squad, with Danny Devine, Lewis Toshney, Kevin McHattie, David Carson, James Vincent and Aaron Doran missing out.

The Highlanders will also be without new loan signing Kai Kennedy, who joined up with the Scotland under-19 squad shortly after making the move from Rangers.

Although Robertson is keen to qualify, he says tonight’s match will largely form part of his preparation for the Championship opener away to Dunfermline on October 17.

He added: “Unfortunately, the situation we were in financially meant we came back in the middle of September with the decision made to keep the players on furlough and use the League Cup as part of our pre-season.

“We’ve stuck to that. We’re undercooked in terms of matches and not up to full fitness, but we’re going to come down and be as competitive as possible and try to win the game.

“It signals the start of the new campaign. We’d like to qualify from the group, but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t.”

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