St Mirren v Hibs: Zdenek Zlamal signs on loan after three goalkeepers ruled out

St Mirren: Jak Alnwick and Lee Hodson are two professional lads - Jim Goodwin

Zdenek Zlamal will be in goal for St Mirren's Scottish Premiership game with Hibernian on Saturday after all three of the club's goalkeepers were ruled out because of coronavirus.

Zlamal has signed on loan from Hearts after Jak Alnwick, Dean Lyness and Peter Urminsky were all sidelined.

St Mirren said on Thursday that Alnwick is self-isolating after testing positive, then confirmed that a second goalkeeper also has the illness and that a third is also unavailable after working alongside the first two.

The club have since told BBC Scotland that third-choice Urminsky had tested negative but is "at potential risk of transmission" so will be excluded as a precaution.

St Mirren have since registered goalkeeper coach Jamie Langfield, 40, who will be on the bench.

"It been a testing 72 hours," said chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick. "I would like to put on record my thanks to Hearts for working with us on this signing.

"Our club has shown amazing resilience and agility in the last few days. I am proud of how the St Mirren family have again rallied together in these testing times."

Scottish football's joint response group, having consulted government health officials, said on Friday evening that "there is not enough evidence" to support a postponement and that the game was on.

Goalkeeper Alnwick started his 10 days of isolation after Monday testing.

His housemate, Lee Hodson - the former St Mirren full-back now with Hamilton Academical - is also having to quarantine for 14 days.

After further screening on Thursday, St Mirren confirmed a second player had tested positive, and announced on Friday that it was a goalkeeper.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: "I understand this is an extremely challenging situation for St Mirren.

"But it demonstrates that the current testing regime is working, by detecting positive Covid-19 tests expeditiously, enabling the appropriate health boards to implement test and protect protocols that isolates those individuals who test positive, but allow football to continue safely and with confidence."

'They have adhered to guidelines'

Speaking before the second positive test, manager Jim Goodwin said he would normally be reluctant to name the first player but that there was "no point us denying it" after it appeared on social media.

"It would be perfectly clear to everyone when the team is selected on Saturday anyway," he said. "We are disappointed for Jak, but he's doing well and recovering."

Unlike Hodson, who has to isolate for 14 days having come into contact with a positive case, Alnwick's 10-day quarantine leaves Goodwin hoping he can return for his side's game against Dundee United on 19 September.

"The two lads have been close pals for a number of years and Lee Hodson came up the road to Hamilton just recently, so this was a temporary arrangement," Goodwin explained.

"We worked with Lee last season - two very professional lads who would most definitely be sticking to what's been asked of them. It is just an unfortunate situation."

St Mirren had seven members of staff test positive for Covid-19 in July, but six were found to be false positives after further screening and Goodwin insisted that Alnwick had followed all the protocols.

"This is just something that is going to continue to happen," he said. "We can't do any more as a club, but unfortunately the players and the staff members, everybody has to go home and some of our partners and wives are going out to work every day.

"I've got three kids going to school every day mixing with hundreds of other children."

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