Why Hibs don't have to forfeit points amid Covid-19 outbreak - and how situation differs from Celtic Dubai aftermath

In the aftermath of Hibs' twice-postponed Scottish Premiership match against Ross County in Dingwall, many supporters have questioned why the points have not simply been awarded to the Staggies,

Hibs left-back Josh Doig vies for the ball with Celtic's Jeremie Frimpong during the clash in January
Hibs left-back Josh Doig vies for the ball with Celtic's Jeremie Frimpong during the clash in January

Fans appear to be basing their queries on the decision made by the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) to bring in a forfeit rule in the Scottish League Cup, starting with the 2020/21 competition.

The SPFL board stipulated that teams unable or unwilling to fulfil a fixture in the first round of the group stages of the tournament would forfeit the game on the basis of a 3-0 defeat, with competition dates severely reducing the number of available dates on which postponed matches could be played.

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However, there are different rules commanding the league competition, with more flexibility in terms of playing matches at a later date, which is why Hibs were able to request a postponement and subsequent rescheduling of the original fixture as well as the postponement of Saturday’s match against Livingston.

Difference with Celtic situation

On a related note there has also been confusion as to why Celtic were made to play their Scottish Premiership fixture against Hibs in January after their return from a mid-season training camp in Dubai despite experiencing their own Covid-19 crisis.

The Hoops were without several first-team players as well as then manager Neil Lennon and assistant boss John Kennedy, with Gavin Strachan taking the team in their absence.

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However, despite a total of 13 players being ruled out, along with the two members of the coaching staff, Celtic were still able to field a full matchday squad, albeit with several youngsters included.

Hibs, too, had planned to draft in several of their under-18 squad for the rescheduled clash with the Staggies, originally slated to take place on the evening of Wednesday November 3.

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However, teams need a minimum of 13 players in their matchday squad, including a goalkeeper, with ten of the 13 over the age of 18.

The Evening News understands that further positive Covid-19 cases among the Hibs squad coupled with a not insubstantial injury list prevented the Capital club from being able to raise a team in accordance with the rules, with both first team and youth side numbers decimated by the virus.

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