Jonny Hayes and Aberdeen teammates apologise after Covid cluster shutdown
"We, as a small group of players, made a huge error of judgement."
Eight Aberdeen players, including Ireland international Jonny Hayes, were ordered to quarantine as two of the group tested positive for Covid-19 not long after an unsanctioned night out, last weekend.
Hayes, along with Michael Devlin, Scott McKenna, Matty Kennedy, Sam Cosgrove, Dylan McGeouch, Craig Bryson, Bruce Anderson, were all told to self-isolate and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ordered that the Dons' league clash with St Johnstone be postponed.
The players have released a statement through the Aberdeen club website in which they apologised for their actions and stated that, contrary to reports in Scotland, they were not in the pub on a club night out.
Aberdeen found itself locked down after a high number of Covid cases were linked to members of the public going to bars and house parties in large numbers.
'First and foremost,' the statement begins, '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.'
Hayes joined Aberdeen in June after being released by league champions Celtic the previous month. He spent five seasons at Pittodrie, from 2012 to 2017, but only added a single outing this season to his 207 appearances with the club.
The Dubliner, who has four caps for Ireland, won praise in July when Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes revealed he had deferred his wages for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.