Derek McInnes backs ‘naive’ Aberdeen players ahead of disciplinary hearing

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes claimed his players had been punished enough for breaking coronavirus protocols ahead of a Hampden disciplinary hearing.

Eight Dons players and Celtic full-back Boli Bolingoli face charges at a Scottish Football Association disciplinary hearing on Friday.

The nine players were charged with two offences: one of failing to comply with SFA regulations and another of bringing the game into disrepute.

  • Dons rout NSI Runavik
  • McInnes: Many Aberdeen critics are hypocrites

Aberdeen had three games postponed after the eight players were instructed to self-isolate after breaking guidelines during a night out at a bar after which two tested positive for Covid-19.

The eight players – Jonny Hayes, Scott McKenna, Sam Cosgrove, Craig Bryson, Bruce Anderson, Dylan McGeouch, Matty Kennedy and Michael Devlin – were fined and reprimanded by their clubs.

Aberdeen have since won three consecutive games, including a 6-0 Europa League win over NSI Runavik on Thursday night, after which McInnes said: “My players have been dragged through the mud, kicked from pillar to post.

“They have been fined by the club, they have not been in a good place for a couple of weeks.

“It is great to see them out there enjoying the game and doing what they should be doing.

“There is no doubt that my players have been punished enough in my eyes.

“A lot of Scotland, right across the workplace, let their guard down. My players were guilty of naivety rather than them thinking they were above any rules or laws.

“The whole of Scottish football took a check when they saw what my players were getting pulled up for. I think that every club in Scotland has not been squeaky clean.

“I think my players have taken a hit, they have been punished, they have been fined to a high level of money as well.

“We have had to face a lot of things in the last couple of weeks with injuries and suspensions, the whole nonsense that has been going and the embarrassment of that, if there is any more punishment to come then we will have to deal with it.”

The Scottish football authorities promised the Scottish government it would strengthen penalties for such breaches after Bolingoli compounded the Aberdeen incident and sparked a serious warning from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who was already “pretty furious” with the Dons players.

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