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Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison backs Covid safety protocols in lower leagues

Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison.
Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison.

Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison feels lower-league clubs have been operating safely, as football below the Championship has been paused.

Morrison was not surprised by the decision to postpone fixtures until January 30 at the earliest, adding that lower-league clubs have likely been “sacrificed” on the back of the fallout from Celtic’s controversial trip to Dubai.

The Blue Toon were due to play Stenhousemuir in the Scottish Cup on Tuesday night, with league games against Airdrieonians and Dumbarton scheduled for January 16 and 23.

However, all three of those games, plus a potential Scottish Cup tie against Kilmarnock on January 30, have all been shelved for the time being.

Morrison said: “I wouldn’t say it’s unexpected but I do think we’ve been the sacrificial lamb on the back of the Celtic thing.

“I’m back to the same thoughts of the way we operate at a lower level. You feel like a stranger at away games, standing on your own with no contact with the opposing directors, but we’re really operating safely.

“I do feel we’ve been operating in a safe manner, with what we’ve agreed to and what we’re doing. It has been a bit of a lifeline for people – at least they could have a streamed game on a Saturday. Now that’s gone.”

Clubs in League One and League Two had already agreed a shortened season, dropping one round of games to bring the total number of fixtures down to 27. The Highland League had cut its campaign in half, with Forres Mechanics also indicating they did not wish to participate.

Football at this level, while mainly part-time, does include three full-time clubs: Partick Thistle, Falkirk and Airdrieonians. Partick Thistle released their own statement on Monday questioning the decision-making of the SPFL.

Peterhead were due to face Stenhousemuir on Tuesday night.

Morrison is now fearful the shutdown may not just be for the initial three weeks and could drag on later into the season.

He added: “The scary thing is, is it just for three weeks? I don’t know. I’ve got the Cock & Bull restaurant at Balmedie and our management planning is we’re not going to be open until the end of April, beginning of May.

“They probably won’t shut down the football altogether because it’ll be fresh in their mind what happened the first time around. Here’s hoping it’s just three weeks but I do have my doubts.”

Peterhead’s Jim McInally believes Scottish football should be paused at every level

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