FOOTBALLERS hugging, celebrating goals and coming into close contact on the pitch is “almost unstoppable”, Weymouth boss Brian Stock believes.

With social distancing scrutinised more than ever during the latest national lockdown, the spotlight has been pointed at the on-pitch conduct of footballers.

Critics across all walks of life have complained about players hugging and high-fiving – particularly during goal celebrations – when the majority of people are keeping to social distancing guidelines.

With the risk of Covid-19 transmission, many people have questioned whether those on-pitch behaviours could be halted.

But former Wales international midfielder Stock feels the pure emotion of scoring goals makes it difficult not to celebrate – something he admits is a natural instinct.

“It’s hard to not celebrate,” he told Echosport.

“Especially if you’re winning games of football. I know when it first came out, we weren’t allowed to.

“We’re trying our hardest and Mark Golsby (Terras’ Covid-19 officer) is trying his hardest on every single matchday to make sure we’re following all the guidelines.

“One of the stumbling blocks is that we’re only allowed to have 20 players on matchday.

“Sometimes a couple of those are players that are injured that need more contact time with a physio.

“So, we can’t have everyone in and we’re doing all we can to keep everyone as safe as possible.

“But when it comes to scoring a goal, it’s hard for coaches not to give each other a high-five as well at the final whistle.

“The emotion, when you want to win games of football, it means so much to the players and staff.

“Sometimes those instincts become almost unstoppable.”

Before sporting events were shifted to behind-closed-doors affairs, fans at some grounds were also criticised for failing to social distance.

But Stock admitted it is easier said than done.

He added: “Sometimes when you’re in that moment it’s hard to control that excitement and adrenaline.

“From the outside looking in, people will look at that and go: ‘Well, they shouldn’t be doing that’.

“I’ve been involved in that side of things, although it’s not been in a pandemic, and it’s hard to not go and celebrate with your teammates, because it means so much."