Hearts players get peace of mind over Covid testing as goal celebrations are discussed

Hearts defender Craig Halkett admitted Scotland’s Championship players are relieved after weekly Covid testing became mandatory across the division.

Saturday, 16th January 2021, 7:00 am
Craig Halkett is preparing for Hearts' league trip to Alloa today.

Tests are necessary at every club for Scotland’s second tier to continue alongside the Premiership after all other levels of football were suspended on Monday.

Hearts had been checking players for coronavirus prior to the start of the season but chose to stop when it was only essential for Premiership clubs to do so.

In the wake of the latest shutdown, Halkett explained that the reintroduction of testing gives all players some peace of mind.

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“We had a few months when we weren't testing and neither were other teams, so you have that worry at the back of your head,” said the centre-back.

“We were quite lucky we had progressed in the Scottish Cup, so we had to test on two occasions when we played Premiership teams.

“To know all the players will be tested weekly eases your mind. Boys have got families and kids to go home to so you want to know everyone is safe. That's the most important thing just now.”

Goal celebrations are also under scrutiny after players were told to avoid embracing one another after scoring. Halkett explained that sometimes emotions and euphoria can take over in the heat of the moment.

“The protocols in general are about social distancing. It's really hard when you are paying a game and three points are up for grabs. Everything is so important and emotions can sometimes take over,” he said.

“If you do see a wee bit of hugging, it's purely just for that five or ten seconds on the park. Back in the changing-room, everyone is split up again with social distancing.

“The emotion on a Saturday means you sometimes forget about it for that one second.”

Heart return to action at Alloa today after a two-week break since losing at Dundee. “It was really frustrating after a defeat, the first thing you want to do is get back and play another game and rectify it,” said Halkett.

“It was meant to be the Scottish Cup weekend [last week] and we wanted to go and win that game. We’ve sat down and spoken about it, we’ve trained hard and we’re looking forward to the game at Alloa.”

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