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St Mirren write to Motherwell over Maurice Ross’ cancellation comments

St Mirren v Livingston – Ladbrokes Scottish Championship – Paisley 2021 Stadium
(Image credit: Ian Rutherford)

St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick has complained to Motherwell about coach Maurice Ross’ “unacceptable statements” in the wake of the Covid-19 cancellation of Saturday’s Premiership match between the two clubs.

Two Buddies players had contracted the virus earlier in the week with a third forced into self-isolation before a further positive test saw more players enter self-isolation with the Paisley club telling the Scottish Professional Football League that they could not fulfil their fixture at the Simple Digital Arena.

Fir Park coach Ross suggested that the current rules – where games are merely postponed and an SPFL investigation launched – are open to abuse by “opportunistic” teams who may want to delay a fixture because of injuries.

Ross said: “Hypothetically, we’ve got two injuries and we play Celtic in a couple of weeks time. We could say the kitman’s wife has Covid and we all need to self-isolate until we get all our good players back.

“I’m not saying it is (happening) – but the rules allow for it.”

A statement on St Mirren’s official website read: “St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick has written to his Motherwell counterpart Alan Burrows to complain about unacceptable statements by Fir Park coach Maurice Ross during a BBC Radio Scotland broadcast in which Ross cast doubt on the reasons for St Mirren seeking the COVID-related cancellation of Saturday’s scheduled clash between the two clubs.

The letter reads: “I am writing to express my disappointment at the comments of Maurice Ross on the above Podcast following the postponement of the fixture between our respective clubs on Saturday 17 October.

“In particular I deprecate any suggestion that we or any other football club would take advantage of this pandemic for personal gain.

“Any notion that we have been “opportunistic” in seeking to discharge our public health responsibilities is a fallacy.

“I cannot fathom why Mr Ross would seek to publicly call into question the integrity of a fellow SPFL member club for adhering to the agreed protocols which are in place to protect players, officials and clubs.

“As we, and all football clubs in Scotland, try to navigate our way through these difficult times the comments of Mr Ross are both unfortunate and unhelpful.

“With respect I would suggest Mr Ross might want to reflect on the comments which he broadcast to the nation and I am sure he will support your fellow clubs in being hyper vigilant as we work together to tackle this virus.

“I would be grateful if he could avoid such derisory language in future.”