Celtic have been the subject of intense criticism over their trip and the controversy continues
Celtic are not short of critics following their controversial trip to Dubai, and the list continues to grow on a daily basis.
The latest voice adding to the chorus of disapproval is that of Gary Caldwell, who won two league titles in his 150 appearances for the club.
Another title being added to the club’s record looks increasingly unlikely this season, with Kevin Nisbet’s injury-time equaliser for Hibs on Monday meaning Neil Lennon’s side now trail Rangers by 21 points.
Celtic were missing several players for that game, with a total of 13 having to self-isolate after defender Christopher Jullien tested positive for Covid-19.
Lennon and his assistant John Kennedy are also both self-isolating as the club continue to face criticism for travelling to Dubai at the height of a pandemic.
The club’s statement confirming Jullien’s positive test was met with disapproval from many, in particular their suggestion that: “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.”
Caldwell, who has managed Wigan Athletic, Chesterfield and Partick Thistle, believes an apology is due.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun, he said: “It can be really beneficial to go away as a team.
“As a manager, it’s part of the process of bringing people together and forming relationships that help you win games.
“But the obvious difference with Celtic is that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.
“Timing is everything and it wasn’t the right decision to go to Dubai. For me, what they should do now is come out and say, ‘Look, we got this wrong’.
“I think people are looking for some sort of apology.
“I’ve been there in difficult times and you need an outside influence to say, ‘Guys, you should be looking at this differently’.
“Celtic have adopted a siege mentality right now and that’s probably not helping them.
“There should be someone saying to the powers-that-be, ‘You’ve got this wrong and you have to come out and say that’.
“Instead, they’ve gone the other way and, in my opinion, it’s only made it worse.
“There is no person in the world who likes criticism, so it’s always going to sting a little bit when someone says you’ve made a mistake.
“But the important thing is having that conversation.
“There are times of crisis all the time in football, but it’s how you handle that.
“Look at Liverpool a year ago when they were absolutely flying, with everything going perfectly, and then they decided to put all their staff on to the government’s furlough scheme.
“Suddenly they were getting it from all angles. But within two days they’d realised their mistake, taken responsibility for it and dealt with it.
“That’s where Celtic could really help themselves now by holding their hands up and admitting they got it wrong.
“They should say, ‘We did this with the best intentions, but we were wrong and we apologise’.
“That still won’t wash with a lot of people but it wouldn’t do any harm.”
Lennon’s men are next in action on Saturday when they take on Livingston at Celtic Park.