Celtic continue to face criticism over their decision to press ahead with this season’s warm weather training camp

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has doubled down on his criticism of Celtic’s trip to Dubai and branded Neil Lennon’s comments “appalling”.

In a heated press conference on Monday, Lennon defended his club’s decision to travel to the UAE for their warm weather training camp at the height of a pandemic.

Upon returning to Glasgow, defender Christopher Jullien tested positive for Covid-19, leading to self-isolation being imposed on 13 players and three other members of staff, including manager Lennon and his assistant John Kennedy.

It has now been reported by Record Sport that the club’s manifests showed Jullien sat in at least two different seats during six separate journeys on the team coach, leading track and trace experts to conclude that 16 people would have to self-isolate.

In his press conference, Lennon said: “There seems to be some sort of agenda being driven here. We played very well at Ibrox and didn’t deserve to lose the game. We were the better team.

“We’ve come back and been absolutely decimated by these rules. I’m not convinced they’re a public health issue, it seems political in my opinion. Nobody has got Covid.”

Lennon went on to confirm that another player had tested positive for Covid.

Asked if the criticism was politically motivated, he replied: “I’m not getting into a fight with the government but I’ll leave it out there.”

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland show, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I am at a loss for words.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

“I said a few weeks ago that it was a bad idea for Celtic to go to Dubai for this trip.

“It was not a great signal. I have no ill will towards Neil Lennon whatsoever but I think his comments were appalling.”

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