St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin has praised his players for the way they have handled their latest coronavirus disruption as he challenged them to continue battling through adversity.
Saints have lost three players for Saturday’s Scottish Premiership visit of Motherwell after two tested positive for Covid-19 and another was instructed to self-isolate.
The Paisley side previously thought they had suffered a mass outbreak among their staff, including Goodwin, only for all but one case to be confirmed as false positives.
They then lost all three goalkeepers at the same time and had to bring in Zdenek Zlamal from Hearts to play three games on loan.
Saints have suffered six consecutive Premiership defeats after also being affected by red cards and suspensions in defence, and Goodwin had been looking forward to utilising a more settled squad.
The Irishman said: “It is very frustrating, every manager out there will tell you we are all desperate just to get back to talking about football.
“Every week it’s a different conversation about a different person and it’s hard to plan. We just work week to week.
“You are always nervous on a Monday when the tests get done. I get a text message from the doctor to say everything is fine but when I see her name coming up on my phone when she’s ringing me then I know there’s a problem.
“We have a small enough squad as it is and we just got a couple of lads back in after injury then lose another three. It’s one thing after another at the moment but we just need to deal with it.
“We are not naming the players right now but it will probably be obvious at the weekend. Two out of the three players are big players for us, they have made a difference in recent weeks.
“It’s going to be a blow to lose them but we will just have to shuffle the pack.
“It’s difficult but we know that every team is going to be affected at one point or another. We just have to get on with it and not allow it to affect us.
“Even before the season started, I said that the teams who cope with the adversity best, that don’t allow it to affect them, don’t feel sorry for themselves, show strong character, they will be the teams that do well.
“I have got to give great credit to the squad and the staff because it is very unsettling when a couple of your team-mates test positive because you then start worrying about your own situation because the incubation period can be 10-12 days.
“It’s an anxious time for everyone but the players have dealt with it great.”
With cases rising across the country, Goodwin knows that the situation will be repeated.
“We have done absolutely everything we have been asked to do but these are cases that have been picked up outside our bubble,” he said.
“But this bubble doesn’t really exist, does it? Because everyone is going home to their partners or wives and everyone else.
“It’s all very good having the bubble around the training ground but the bubble bursts as soon as you leave.”
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