Statements, Media Outbursts And 10 In A Row Success (Kinda): 16th-23rd Of January SPFL Recap

ABERDEEN

Aberdeen manager Derek McCinnes raised concerns over some SPFL clubs not having adequate social distancing protocols within their facilities. He never publicly stated who they were but after Neil Lennon’s public comments about St Johnstone and Hamilton it is speculated these were the clubs, he has also raised concerns about.

The Dons lost 4-1 to Ross County on Saturday as Derek McInnes faces further pressure from fans to improve their away tactics.

The club announced this week that they’re now in partnership with the Samaritans mental health charity to help supporters that are struggling with loneliness and with their mental health.

CELTIC

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has made headlines this week after hitting out at the Scottish Government after they criticised the team’s trip to Dubai.

He also went onto say those questioning their actions were hypocritical in their desire to hold them to account as he claims St Johnstone and Hamilton Accies don’t provide sufficient social distancing facilities. He also revealed that despite pressure from fans to resign he will not leave his post unless the Celtic board fire him.

The hoops suffered to draws to Livingston this week on Saturday and Wednesday night.

However, Celtic have done positive things this week. Their Football For Good fund the club set up to help the local community that had been impacted by the pandemic has now raised £1 million and has helped 36,000 families, 10,000 pensioners and 7000 homeless people as well as provided hot food for NHS staff.

DUNDEE UNITED

Dundee United this week were able to access funding to help tackle food insecurity in the community as well as other local Issues facing the community through their new Saturday Club project. The project will provide hot meals and free sporting activities for local children.

Dundee United player Cammy Smith left the club this week after being at the club permanently since 2019. The club is also teaming up with Balhousie Care Group to deliver hot meals to members of the community that are isolated or vulnerable on Burns night.

HIBS

Hibs this week announced that Tom James has joined Salford City for the remainder of the season.

The Hibs community fund helped NHS staff this week by providing their local hospital workers refreshments and thanked them for all their hard work during the pandemic.

Hibs fans have been encouraging fellow supporters to donate the money they would’ve normally spent on their League Cup semi-final match as a one-off payment to the Hibernian supporters’ website. The goal is to raise £100k throughout January to increase their budget.

HAMILTON ACCIES

This week marked the three-year anniversary of the passing of Hamilton Accies academy graduate 22-year-old Matthew Craig who battled Leukaemia. He played for Accies’ under 11s up until under 19s and even featured in the Scotland under 18s squad. The team here at The Hummingbird Journal send our condolences to his friends and family.

The club also said this week that Neil Lennon’s statement surrounding their covid-19 safety protocols was untrue.

KILMARNOCK

Kilmarnock fans were able to raise £16,000 for the club to help them pay their Covid-19 fees mere hours after the donations were open and assistant manager Andy Millen thanked fans for their extreme generosity.

The club have also re-arranged their match against Motherwell which will be played on the 10th of February.

LIVINGSTON

Livingston had two draws this weekend that seen them go 10 games in a row without a defeat, which Livingston happily let Celtic know about…

Livingston manager David Martindale donated his December manager of the month award to a local mental health charity so it could be used as a prize in a fundraising raffle.

MOTHERWELL

Motherwell’s games with Kilmarnock and St Mirren have been set to play out on the 10th of February and Wednesday the 24th of February.

The club also made an £346,570 profit this financial year, despite the lockdown and games being played behind closed doors.

They also announced that they had signed Northampton Town striker Harry Smith on loan and that Jake Carroll has signed a new deal keeping him at Fir Park until the summer of 2023.

Motherwell in partnership with their sponsor Paycare also published a series of fitness tips that can help improve both your physical and mental wellbeing.

RANGERS

Rangers academy player Ciaran Dickson signed a new contract extension this week, keeping him at Ibrox until 2023. The young midfielder has played for Scotland’s under 16s – 19s and has scored goals in the Youth Cup final, Alkaas International Cup and helped the Rangers B team reach the semi-final of the Challenge Cup.

Kemar Roofe also was able to return to training this week after becoming injured during the first half of the Old Firm game back at the start of January.

This week also marks manager Steven Gerrard’s 150th match in charge of Rangers.

ROSS COUNTY

This week the staggies opened their car parks to the NHS to help administrate Covid-19 vaccines to their local community, they also encouraged supporters to keep following the government’s guidance and to stay at home.

They also announced this week that Celtic defender Leo Hjelde has joined Ross County on loan until the end of the season.

ST JOHNSTONE

The club released a statement from Kirsten Robertson, the Head of Football Operations at St Johnstone which said:” St. Johnstone Football Club is extremely disappointed with the completely inaccurate and unfounded comments about our facilities made yesterday by Neil Lennon, the Celtic FC manager, in a media conference. We provide one of the largest away team changing areas in the league. Every team, including Celtic, is also provided with a large area for team meetings. We follow all protocols and guidance to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and officials. When Celtic FC visited McDiarmid Park on October 4th for an SPFL Premiership match, we made sure their every request and requirement was met. Celtic viewed all of our facilities before the game and no issues were raised. No issues were raised with us after the game. All during this challenging period of the past nine months, our Football Club has maintained adherence to the highest of standards. Indeed, the SPFL delegates have commended us on our work during this campaign.”

The club also mourned the loss of Scottish actor Andy Gray who had also been a long-term saints fan. The club sent their best wishes to his family and friends and reflected on the joy he brought to auidences when he was on stage and the joy he brought to the club. The team here at The Hummingbird Journal send his friends and family our condolences.

ST MIRREN

The club released a statement this week addressing mis-informed headlines that featured in the press in December regarding the club’s treatment of its staff. St Mirren said:” The Board of Directors were extremely concerned by the ill-informed and inaccurate headlines that appeared in the Press on 1 December 2020. The following information seeks to clarify the position and is intended to reassure shareholders with regard to the club’s financial strength. To provide some context, in October we asked our auditors (Azets) to review a number of our business operations. This was part of our strategy to review all operations and enhance governance across the Club. One area which we asked them to consider was the status of a number of staff that we had hitherto classified as self-employed. Azets prepared a report for the Board, which was received in November and concluded that, on balance, some of our staff ought to be treated as employees who would be subject to PAYE. The report makes it clear that the question of whether or not someone is self-employed or employed is a complex one in any business. In our case there are a number of factors which point either way. Following on from this report, and in an attempt to gain clarity, we decided to self-refer the matter to HMRC for their view. HMRC were contacted by telephone on Friday 20 November and have since confirmed verbally that we should make the necessary changes to the status of the relevant employees going forward. Action is underway to make these changes. We have acted on a proactive basis and co-operated fully with HMRC. Understandably we wanted to have their definitive view on this before we held the AGM. The Azets report also highlighted a number of risks within the Club’s operations. It was decided to engage an independent firm of Accountants to check that none of these risks had resulted in loss. We appointed Gerber Landa & Gee (GLG), a firm highly experienced in professional football club finances, and are delighted to confirm that no evidence of any loss was found. GLG have further confirmed that the changes in process implemented should ensure that the risks previously highlighted have been addressed. The Board of Directors trusts that the foregoing corrects any misunderstanding caused by ill-informed and inaccurate press reports.”

St Mirren supporters also set up a Go Fund Me page to help raise money to support the club payback their COVID-19 fines. At the time of writing the fund has earned over £5k and St Mirren Chief Executive Tony Fitzpatrick said: “The support we receive from our fans never fails to amaze us and on behalf of everyone at St Mirren Football Club we thank them for their generosity in these challenging times.”

The club also grieved the loss of 73-year-old season ticket holder, Harry McLachlan who had passed last month. He was one of the oldest people in the UK living with Downs Syndrome and even competed in the Olympics representing Britain. The club and team here at The Hummingbird Journal have his family and loved ones in our thoughts.

If you want to donate to any of the funding projects mentioned in this article the links can be found on the respective club’s Twitters and sites.

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