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Stephen Robinson criticises poor communication over Scotland Under-21s situation

21 November 2020
Stephen Robinson refused to use the absences of Scotland Under-21 internationals Allan Campbell and Barry Maguire as an excuse for Motherwell's disappointing 1-1 draw with St Johnstone. The Steelmen took the lead with an early Mark O'Hara drive but were pegged back by Stevie May's penalty for the home side. Neither side could find a winner in a second half devoid of goalmouth chances as defences held firm. Robinson revealed he only found out he would be without Campbell and Maguire on the morning of the game after they were identified as close contacts of the three under-21 players who tested positive following their return from Greece. And the Fir Park manager insists the situation could have been handled a lot better. He said: "Obviously it wasn't ideal; that's an understatement. We had named the team and were ready to go. "But I got a phone call around 11 o'clock from the chief executive to tell me the two boys, Allan and Barry, couldn't play – and a double punishment that they can't play next week. "It's a big blow but we're not going to use that as an excuse for the performance. We're happy to get out with a point in the end with the disruption, but we can play better than we did today. "I got a phone call from the chief executive on Friday night at 10 o'clock to say that there was the potential that some of the under-21 players had tested positive and there might be a track and trace issue. "But it wasn't until 11 o'clock that I was told the boys couldn't play. "It's not ideal. I know that other clubs found out early in the day on Friday after they had tested. "So the communication was poor, really, really poor. It's got to be better than that when you go into an elite performance environment, allegedly. "I'm being told that a staff member tested positive and the players weren't retested before they flew on two flights in close environments. "They haven't broken any protocols, that's not the question here, it's just the common sense of going above and beyond to make sure everybody's right. "I think it could be done better. I don't usually jump on people because this is a situation that is hard and we all make mistakes. "But common sense wasn't used and the communication was a joke." Meanwhile, St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson was left counting the cost of the dropped points after midfielder Murray Davidson has taken off on a stretcher with a shoulder problem and Craig Conway had to be replaced due to a facial injury. He said: "Murray fell awkwardly and he's going to get checked out to make sure he's OK. "It was more he fell on the shoulder so we want to take precautions to get him assessed. I can't say any more at the moment because I don't know. Craig has broken his nose as well. "So, it's one of those, when you get one (injury) you get another. Hopefully they're both OK." He added: "The effort was there from the players, they were the ones trying to win the game. "On the flip side, we just need to do a little bit better when we get to that final third and show more composure. We got into good areas without really testing the goalkeeper."
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