Celtic without 13 isolating players after controversial Dubai trip

Ross Houston
January 13, 2021

The United Arab Emirates has now been removed from Scotland's safe travel list due to the rising number of Covid cases connected to travel from there.

Celtic confirmed on Monday that the French defender had tested positive for Covid-19 after returning from the club's trip to the Middle East.

The rest of the Celtic squad have tested negative, but were in close contact with Jullien during flight and team coach travel.

A local NHS health protection team has since deemed 13 other players to be close contacts.

On Saturday, Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy admitted the club had been guilty of "minor slip-ups" in Covid-19 protocols during their six days in Dubai.

Kennedy and manager Lennon are among those now isolating, meaning they will not be on the touchline for tonight's clash with Hibs, which has been given the go ahead.

Celtic had already faced criticism over their warm-weather training camp, with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon questioning whether they were complying with social-distancing rules after photographs emerged on social media.

The Hoops are now 22 points behind Rangers, who have four games in hand on their rivals but face an uphill battle to complete Ten in a Row.

Scottish FA president Rod Petrie said: "While the national sport has been afforded the privilege of elite sporting exemption, the risk of mass transportation of untested, largely part-time players is something that can not be sustained as the cases continue to rise and available hospital beds become increasingly scarce".

This fixture was moved to Monday night by the SPFL to accommodate Celtic's trip to Dubai, a decision that left then-Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster 'fizzing.' The Hibees have spoken to their players about the match.

"Clearly we are hugely disappointed, as we know our supporters will be".

The Bhoys were made to pay for their players' absences at the weekend, as Celtic drew 1-1 with Hibernian, leaving them 21 points adrift of Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.

The club reiterated its stance on their trip to Dubai in the same statement: "These protocols have served us well in the past, as the Club has not had one positive case in our own 'bubble" until now.

Celtic has done everything it can to ensure we have in place the very best procedures and protocols.

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