Celtic hit by Covid
Celtic have had 13 first team players need to move into self isolation after coming into ‘close contact’ with a positive test from French defender Christopher Jullien. This has led to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and his assistant, along with many other first team players, needing to take action in an attempt to prevent further spread of the virus.
However, this has not stopped the club from pushing forward with a plans to play Hibernian this evening with a significantly under-strength side. The club released the following statement:
“Celtic Football Club confirmed today that Christopher Jullien has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating at home. We wish Christopher a speedy recovery.
“While all of the other members of the squad and backroom team have tested negative, we have been informed by the authorities that, having been deemed ‘close contacts’, Celtic manager Neil Lennon, assistant John Kennedy and 13 first-team players will be required to self-isolate on a precautionary basis as required by the current regulations.
“The Club would like to thank the Scottish FA, JRG and the Scottish Government for their assistance in managing this case. Celtic will, of course, fulfil its fixture against Hibernian this evening.
“Clearly we are hugely disappointed, as we know our supporters will be. The contacts were identified during the period from Wednesday last week, primarily around flight and team coach travel, during which time Celtic applied the same rigorous protocols used for pre-season training camps, UEFA match travel and for all domestic match arrangements in Scotland.
“These protocols have served us well in the past, as the Club has not had one positive case in our own ‘bubble’ until now. As we have already stated, Celtic’s decision to travel to Dubai for a training camp was for performance reasons. Whilst we were in Dubai, the announcements made on January 4 significantly changed the COVID landscape.
“The reality is that a case could well have occurred had the team remained in Scotland, as other cases have done in Scottish football and across UK sport in the past week.
“Celtic has done everything it can to ensure we have in place the very best procedures and protocols. From the outset of the pandemic, Celtic has worked closely with the Scottish Government and Scottish football and we will continue to do so.”
There will be a increase in scrutiny now of the Scottish side after they travelled to Dubai over the winter period. Whilst in the aforementioned statement it explains that the trip was purely for performance reasons, many have seen the trip as taking advantage of the travel exemption given to the sport.
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon had questioned the trip of the Scottish side but as of yet no investigation by the Scottish FA has taken place.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) January 5, 2021
“For me, the question for Celtic is what is the purpose of them being there,” Ms Sturgeon said. “I’ve seen comments from the club that it’s more for R&R than training.
“I have also seen some photographs – and I don’t know the full circumstances – that would raise a question in my mind about whether all the rules elite players have to follow in their bubble around social distancing are being complied with.”
The breaking news regarding the amount of players needed to go into self isolation will only fuel the fire in support of Sturgeon’s view which could then lead to an investigation into the club.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.