Covid-19 against scuppers Saints' friendly plan

For the second summer in a row, a unique friendly match has had to be scrapped by St Andrews United.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 12:39 pm

Last year the Covid-19 pandemic, and the country’s lockdown, meant United were unable to face Greenock in an arranged summer friendly.

Saints had organised the match against the side they beat in the Junior Scottish Cup final in 1960 as part of their centenary celebrations.

But the game was rescheduled and plans were put in place to hold it instead on July 3 this year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

United had hoped to face Greenock in a friendly but the game has been cancelled
United had hoped to face Greenock in a friendly but the game has been cancelled

Again, though, Covid-19 has spiked those plans with Saints confirming this week that the Greenock squad has been severely affected by the virus, so will not be able to compete due to players isolating.

The club’s Donald Gellatly said: “A brief attempt was made to find a suitable replacement at short notice but the special centenary game will now be played at a later date.

"As a result, the City of St Andrews Pipe Band has kindly agreed to stand down with a view to playing on a rearranged date and the legends from 1960 will instead be invited to attend a league game when full crowds and hospitality are reintroduced.

"This situation is clearly outwith the control of both teams and the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions are continuing to affect club operations.”

On a more positive note, a recent announcement by the Scottish Government on the further relaxing of restrictions around social distancing in early August has offered hope that larger crowds will soon return to the ground.

The club remains, though, in a position to admit a limited number of fans into The Clayton Caravan Park Recreation Ground for the arranged pre-season friendlies.

Entry will be free, hand sanitiser will be provided at the entrance nearest the social club, spectators must wear a face coverings and catering will not be available.

Mr Gellatly added: “The committee is looking forward to welcoming supporters back into the Rec and the management team has been working tirelessly to improve the squad ahead of the new season.

"Key players from last year's squad have signed new deals, whilst our new players are settling-in nicely, with more to follow.”

Saints were scheduled to face Darren Young’s East Fife on Thursday night at Bayview.