Caley Thistle’s Boxing Day fixture against Partick Thistle in the Championship has been called off due to a Covid outbreak in the Highlanders’ camp.
An outbreak of the virus, as well as a number of injuries within the senior pool, led to head coach Billy Dodd having only eight available players, two of whom were keepers.
This meant the joint leaders were unable to fulfil the fixture against their fourth-placed opponents, who could have overtaken them with a win.
Following a breakout of Covid in the 1st team squad and allied to the current number of injuries within the team, the club unfortunately has to confirm that we are unable to fulfil this Sunday's Boxing Day match with Partick Thistle
— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) December 23, 2021
The match was set to be played in front of just 500 home fans due to the new Scottish Government restrictions.
Caley Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner explained why the call was made to have the game put on ice.
He said: “We knew that we were struggling to make the numbers required, but had to wait on confirmation with tests and injury prognosis which is why we were unable to make a statement sooner.
“We then had to have the postponement confirmed by the SPFL. Since the pandemic began, we have not requested one game to be postponed, something we were proud of, but on this occasion, the virus caught up with us.
“The safety of our players and staff is our first priority and as hard as we were recently hit as a club by the virus, we have not had to consider this option before and we trust our supporters will understand our position and not be too disappointed by the loss of this Christmas match.
“Given the new restrictions and the pressures on the club staff and our external partners, we are currently considering what route we are going to take with the next scheduled home match on January 8.
“As late as yesterday afternoon, we were still learning what the detail of the new regulations were and have even seen other clubs publishing statements which interpret them completely differently from how we and some others have.
“Therefore, we will make sure we have absolute clarity before making our final decision and we will have some conversations with supporters in advance of making an announcement.
“The safety of our supporters and our community remains paramount in our minds just now and even as we have players and staff out and about with our Community Trust, delivering Christmas hampers as part of the SPFL Trust Festive Friends project, the important part our club plays in the community becomes ever more evident to all of us.”
An SPFL spokesman confirmed: “After reviewing the information provided by Inverness Caledonian Thistle, their cinch Championship match against Partick Thistle on Sunday December 26 has been postponed. A new date for the fixture will be announced in due course.”
Caley Thistle are sitting just behind Arbroath on goal difference at the top of the table and are due to face Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park next Wednesday.