Celtic general manager Peter Lawwell apologized for the club’s trip to Dubai, saying that “looking back and looking at the result it was clearly a mistake”.
The decision to travel to Dubai for a training camp amid a global pandemic angered many, with Christopher Jullien later testing positive for the coronavirus and forcing 13 of his teammates to quarantine.
Boss Neil Lennon and his assistant John Kennedy are also self-isolating after being judged as close contacts of the central rear.
Furious fans criticized the decision to let Jullien take the 3,000-mile flight to the United Arab Emirates, despite being ruled out for four months due to a serious knee injury.
First-team coach Gavin Strachan – who took over as Lennon’s dugout in the 1-1 draw with Hibernian on Monday – insisted it was done with the best of intentions. he reiterated Celtic have no regrets about flying to the Middle East.
However, speaking on Wednesday in a video titled “a message to our supporters”, Lawwell admitted the trip was “unfortunate.”
“These few days have been extremely difficult and you know, thinking back, looking back, looking back and looking at the outcome of the trip, that was clearly a mistake,” Lawwell said. “And for that, I deeply apologize to our supporters.
“We left here and the raison d’être of the camp was with the best of intentions. Things did not go the way we wanted and the outcome is clearly very unfortunate.”
Explaining the reason for the trip, Lawwell added: “If you look back over the past four years, going to the camp in Dubai has been extremely successful, and the decisions we made were entirely in the best interests of the team and the best interests of the club.
“What we planned to do was bring them back to these world-class facilities after a very busy schedule in November and December, which has proven to be a great performance advantage in the past. after January.
“As for the facts surrounding the trip, I think we decided to leave in November and were allowed to go.
“Obviously the landscape has changed considerably, especially the preparation for our departure to Dubai, in terms of infection rate and the like. But, at the time, Dubai’s infection rate was still part of the corridor. green, to the point where we started.
“We were deploying the same protocols that we have put in place since the start of the bubble in June and we have had no positive results so far.
“Overall the reasons to go were for the right reasons, it was the performance, and of course at the end of the result it was really disappointing.”
In the club’s first Scottish Premiership game since the warm-weather training trip, absent players and staff were forced to watch at home as another late defensive failure allowed Hibs forward Kevin Nisbet to shoot a late equalizer in another devastating blow to the Hoops’ weak title hopes.
The draw means Celtic are now 21 points behind the runaway leaders Rangers with three games underway.