Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell admits that the Scottish champions’ decision to go to Dubai for a training camp in hot weather was a “mistake” after 13 players were forced to isolate themselves.
Celtic defender Christopher Jullien tested positive for Covid-19 after the trip, with a host of other players, Hoops boss Neil Lennon, and his assistant John Kennedy, considered close contacts.
Although all subsequent tests have been negative since Celtic returned to Scotland last Friday, it was an impromptu Celtic that drew 1-1 against Hibernian on Monday.
Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon had criticized Celtic’s getaway to Dubai, questioning whether it was really “essential”. And while the club had initially defended the controversial trip, Lawwell has now admitted it was a wrong decision.
“It has been an extremely difficult few days and in reflection, looking back and looking back and looking at the outcome of the trip, it was clearly a mistake and for that I deeply apologize to our fans,” Lawwell told the Celtic website. “We got out of here and the reason for the camp was largely with the best of intentions. Things have not gone the way we wanted and the result is clearly very regrettable. “
Scotland is under a nationwide lockdown and only essential travel is allowed. Despite the restrictions, elite sports teams can travel for games and training.
“If you look back over the last four years, going to camp in Dubai has been a great success,” Lawwell said. “And the decisions we made were entirely in the best interests of the team and the best interests of the club.
“What we plan to do is bring them back to these world-class facilities after a very busy schedule in November and December, which in the past has proven to be a huge benefit in terms of performance after January.”
Celtic follow Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers by 21 points, and although they have three games in hand, their bid for a record tenth consecutive title hangs in the balance.