Dundee United midfielder Ian Harkes knows the spotlight is on him and every other player as the coronavirus continues to hit Scottish football.
Harkes was one of the Tangerines who made it on to the park on Saturday as they lost 2-0 to Livingston.
Nine of his clubmates were self-isolating, along with manager Micky Mellon and the whole first-team coaching staff, after three members of the Tannadice backroom team tested positive for the virus last week.
To add to United’s woes, a photograph of a team group subsequently emerged, showing the squad and staff sitting together rather than socially-distanced.
It all added up to a troubled few days for Harkes and Co.
The American said: “There has been a lot going on but we have just tried to keep our focus.
“It was in the back of our minds and we feel for the boys who weren’t involved. We just had to get on with it and try to get a better result than the disappointing one we got.”
Harkes added: “It is a tough time.
“I think we are still getting a grasp of learning all the different rules that affect you and about who you are in contact with – all the different people.
“We have tried to keep a good attitude this week and just tried to focus on the work. That includes the coaching staff and everyone.”
Asked if it was difficult to follow the letter of the Covid guidelines, Harkes said: “I think we are used to it by now. We are so far into it.
“We know that as footballers we have an extra spotlight on us. You know…just stick to the rules.
“Like you said, the players have been excellent and maybe blameless but these things happen.”
As for the match itself, United had a good first half and a poor second period. Sadly for them, they failed to score when on top while Livi netted twice.
Harkes added: “In the first half, I think you could see that we had a little bit more momentum and weren’t really worried about a threat from Livingston.
“But obviously the second half got away from us.
“They changed shape a little bit and did what they do best and went over the top of us. We have to do better with that.
“We did well first half but we have to finish our games and make sure we are getting back on it.
“You could see there were some positives there. We had a fair bit of the ball and created some chances.”
The visitors had under-18s coach Thomas Courts in the dugout but boss Mellon had a role to play, albeit remotely.
Harkes said: “It was a pretty seamless transition and I think we all knew the message from the gaffer.
“He would just relay it on to Tam and we would be told the message going into the game.
“Even before the game, on Zoom we had to do different things to get the information across.
“They did well (Courts was backed up by Adam Asghar) so credit for them being able to take over.
“Tam took it pre-match and broke down the Livingston team etc. Then the gaffer gave us a quick message (via Zoom).
“It was nothing too big or tactical, just a rundown of what we had to do.”