Celtic have been the subject of intense criticism over their decision to travel abroad during the coronavirus pandemic
On Wednesday night Peter Lawwell delivered Celtic’s apology for their trip to Dubai, but for some his wording only inflamed the matter.
Fans, pundits and politicians have all criticised the club after they travelled to Dubai for a warm weather training camp at the height of a pandemic, and the trip remains a talking point days after they returned to Glasgow.
Defender Christopher Jullien, who had already been ruled out for three to four months through injury, tested positive for Covid-19. That result meant a total of 13 players were required to self-isolate, as well as manager Neil Lennon and his assistant John Kennedy.
In an attempt to address concerns, the club’s chief executive sat down with Gerry McCulloch for an interview on the club’s in-house channel Celtic TV.
He said: “It’s been an extremely difficult few days and on reflection, looking back and looking with hindsight and looking at the outcome of the trip, clearly it was a mistake.
“For that, I profoundly apologise to our supporters.
“We left here and the rationale for the camp was with very much the best intentions. Things haven’t gone the way we wanted to and the outcome is clearly very regrettable.”
Lawwell added: “This horrific pandemic has affected the whole of society. People here in Scotland, our supporters, our football and our club. Probably our club more than any.
“And these challenges have come upon us. They are not finished and there is going to be more significant challenges going forward and for our supporters and our community we really have to stick together.
“We’ve got to be united and face these challenges together.”
The suggestion that Celtic have been affected by the pandemic more than any other club did not sit well with former Hearts and Rangers player Neil McCann.
As quoted by the Scottish Sun, McCann said: “I think the statement within the statement that will stick in the throats of a lot of people in football is about Celtic being the worst hit here.
“I’m pretty sure Ann Budge and all the Hearts fans will be on the posts tonight to say: ‘Hold on a minute, we lost a place in the Premiership here’.
“You mentioned Falkirk earlier on, along with Partick Thistle.
“That statement, I thought, was poor. I didn’t think that was merited.
“But maybe Peter just started going down the road of talking about the work they’ve done in the community. Nobody is denying that, whatsoever.
“I don’t think that’s got anything to do with what they’re being accused of here, which is a wee bit of arrogance from the fans and ignorance of where we are within the pandemic.”
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