It has been a dubious return to action for football in Scotlands top-flight, the Premiership. Already the clubs and players have been given what amounts to a yellow card by the government there. One more serious breach of health protocols could see them get a red, which would mean the suspension of the league again.
The 2019-20 season in Scotland was postponed in March, like leagues across the rest of Europe, because of the covid-19 pandemic. However, unlike their counterparts south of the border in the Premier League, it was decided not to resume it again. Instead the final standings were decided on a controversial points per game basis.
So, when the new season began ten days ago, it was the first competitive action that fans there had enjoyed for almost five months - remotely, because fans are still not allowed back into grounds.
However, almost immediately, the league ran into problems with authorities in the country after players breached the strict health protocols governing the return to play.
Trouble started after the first day when eight Aberdeen players decided to visit a bar in the city centre after their home defeat to Rangers, in express contravention of the procedures laid down by the club. Aberdeen has been one of the cities in the UK where lockdown measures have had to be re-imposed following a surge in new coronavirus cases, linked to pubs in the city.
When the players were subsequently tested, two were found to have contracted Covid-19. They are now self-isolating at home, and the rest are in quarantine. Aberdeen were forced to cancel their away match at St. Johnstone on Saturday, and their home fixture with Hamilton Academical on Tuesday night.
Barely had the furore over that breach died down, when it emerged that, over at champions Celtic, Belgian defender Boli Bolingoli had made an unscheduled trip to Spain on Monday, without informing anybody, and despite all players at the club being told they should remain in the Glasgow area.
He claimed it was just to have a break refuting suggestions that he had gone to meet a club to discuss a possible move but he failed to quarantine on re-entering the country.
As a result, Celtic’s own game with St. Mirren on Tuesday had to be postponed, whilst Bolingoli has been issued with a fixed penalty notice by the local police for breaching quarantine regulations.
Now the Scottish government has warned the clubs and players they are drinking in last chance saloon one more serious breach of the rules and they will not hesitate to shut down the league.