Ex-Portsmouth loanee blasted by Nicola Sturgeon after eight Aberdeen players break social distancing rules

Former Pompey loanee Matty Kennedy is among the Aberdeen Eight who forced the postponement of a match on coronavirus grounds.

Monday, 10th August 2020, 12:52 pm
Updated Monday, 10th August 2020, 1:14 pm
Former Pompey winger Matty Kennedy was among the eight Aberdeen players who broke social distancing rules and forced the cancellation of a Scottish Premiership match. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/PinPep

First minister Nicola Sturgeon ordered the cancellation of the club’s scheduled clash with St Johnstone last weekend following an alarming rise in cases in the Aberdeen area.

The ‘furious’ Sturgeon acted after two Dons players tested positive for coronavirus, while another six who came into close contact with them were quarantined for 14 days.

The eight were found to have broken social distancing rules by visiting a city centre bar the previous Saturday evening following a match against Rangers.

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Among them was Kennedy, who made 33 appearances and scored three times during a season-long loan at Fratton Park from Cardiff in 2017-18.

The winger was that evening joined by Aberdeen team-mates Jonny Hayes, Michael Devlin, Scott McKenna, Sam Cosgrove, Dylan McGeouch, Craig Bryson and Bruce Anderson.

And the city is now under a reimposed lockdown following a worrying escalation in cases.

An Aberdeen statement signed by all eight players said: ‘First and foremost we would like to apologise to every AFC fan, the manager, everyone at the club, the football authorities, the First Minister, all healthcare workers along with everyone else that has worked tirelessly around the clock to get the country, and in particular football, back up and running again.

‘We, as a small group of players, made a huge error of judgement last weekend by thinking it was ok to visit a city centre venue together.

‘None of us could have foreseen the escalation of Covid-19 cases in the Grampian area, nor did we deliberately attempt to flout or disobey Government guidelines which we all must adhere to, or indeed the clear guidelines set out by the club.

‘This was by no means a team night out as has been portrayed and while we attempted to comply with Government social distancing guidelines, we now recognise that our group of eight exceeded the number of households permitted to meet up.

‘This was a genuine error on our part as professional football players, and in doing so, we have let our manager down.

‘As players we appreciate our club has gone above and beyond to put protocols in place to protect us and it was never our intention to put those in jeopardy, or to put our teammates or football staff at risk.

‘As a player group, we once again apologise unreservedly to the fans, the manager, the Board and all the staff at the club.

‘Jonny Hayes, Michael Devlin, Scott McKenna, Matty Kennedy, Sam Cosgrove, Dylan McGeouch, Craig Bryson, Bruce Anderson.’

Aberdeen’s postponed match against St Johnstone has been re-arranged for August 20.

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