Dundee boss James McPake has railed against the lack of communication over the club’s recent positive Covid case saying “there has to be a better process”.
On Friday at 9am, news came back that one member of the Dens Park first team had returned a positive test.
That then saw the club pore over the seating plan for the bus back from Wednesday night’s win at Montrose, as per league rules.
Any player within two seats of the positive case then went into self-isolation pending an investigation by authorities.
However, McPake has revealed the club were never told whether those players could play or not come Saturday afternoon.
“The preparation was ridiculous in my opinion,” he said.
“I want to be careful because we are dealing with a pandemic.
“What there has to be is a better level of communication.
“On Saturday morning, our club was told we’d be called back in half-an-hour whether the five players were deemed to be close contacts or not. We still hadn’t received the phonecall by full-time.
“We knew 9am Friday morning our player was positive. You send them for another test to confirm. So why couldn’t the process of identifying close contacts have started then?
“If they said then, you can’t play those five players, then fine I have no issue with it.
“The issue I have is we weren’t told if we could or couldn’t play them.
“It’s not an easy job because we’re dealing with something nobody has dealt with before but it has to be dealt with better.
‘Communication has to be better’
“There has to be a better solution than, at 11.05 on a matchday, not knowing if you can have five players in your squad.
“Everything is about safety and I would rather lose a game than jeopardise the safety of any of my players or staff.
As a result a number of other players are also isolating while the clinicians carry out their investigations #thedee
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) July 24, 2021
“But communication has to be better. I put to the people dealing with this that nobody had told me I couldn’t play those players.
“At no point did anybody tell the club these players couldn’t play. So we’re kind of guessing.
“If a manager or player does something then it’s dealt with like that, bang, you’re banned.
Potentially I could have put five players on the pitch that had been in close contact with a positive case because no one said I couldn’t.
“To be fair, the league have been good but I’m talking about the collective group dealing with this.
“There has to be a better process.”
The Dundee boss also doesn’t yet know if he will have the five isolating players back available for next week’s Premiership opener against St Mirren.
It’s understood that the period of isolation will end on Friday, should all players be judged to be close contacts following the investigation by clinicians.
However, with no training in the week running up to the game it’s unlikely they will be ready to play a meaningful role in the match.
“We don’t know if it will affect next week’s game yet. That might change,” McPake added.
“That’s my gripe, I don’t know. People at the SPFL and SFA have been very helpful so I’m not having a dig at them.
“But there has to be a better way that this is managed for the good and health of Scottish football.”
Adam and Fontaine injury update
With six players missing pre-match, Dundee’s options were stretched even further as Charlie Adam and Liam Fontaine both limped off in the first half.
However, that didn’t stop the Dark Blues running out 5-2 winners over Forfar as they booked their place in the League Cup knockout stages by winning Group C.
On Adam and Fontaine, McPake said: “They’ll be fine. It was a situation where potentially neither would have played (with a full squad available).
“I’m sure they will be fine. They made the right calls to get off the pitch and showed their experience.”
He added: “It was a pleasing performance. The two goals we conceded weren’t so pleasing.
“Max Anderson was outstanding. He ran 13km in that game. In that heat, it’s unbelievable.
“Paul McMullan took the knock on Wednesday then plays 90 minutes on Saturday, different class.
“Cillian (Sheridan) looked excellent off the bench as well for not having much football. We could see what he is going to bring.
“I’m delighted. Delighted to get 12 points, that’s the first time since I’ve been at the club we have managed that.
“Now the cup is put to the side and we roll into St Mirren with two defeats in 17.
“I can’t wait for next week now. Now the real work starts for the league with St Mirren coming here.”