Celtic boss Neil Lennon has leapt to the defence of the Parkhead club’s decision to take the side to Dubai in the middle of a pandemic – and Rangers fans are having none of it.

The Celtic manager was speaking as the decision to go to the Middle East blows up in Celtic’s faces and they make front-page news across the country.

Rangers v Celtic - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
Lennon insists Celtic have done nothing wrong and that the decision to go to Dubai is the correct one, despite stating it was for “R&R” after the defeat to Rangers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon even claimed the situation “should be looked in to” as she questioned if Celtic had abused the powers handed to football clubs [BBC Sport].

The entire thing centres around the motivations behind the Parkhead club’s trip to Dubai after pictures emerged of the Celtic team sharing a beer poolside in the UAE.

The team was also pictured huddled together in a bar in the city in a move which is in clear breach of coronavirus guidelines set out by the SFA, SPFL and Scottish Government.

https://twitter.com/DouglasPark82/status/1345819856499847168

However, Lennon insists the nature of the trip is purely footballing as he launches a defence of the move.

“We are sure the camp will be really important for us,” said Lennon [Clyde SSB].

It is the same format as previous years, obviously with one significant difference being the protocols in place for COVID, but we hope that we get the same lift from it and can go on another great run in the New Year as we did last season.

“That’s our real focus just now.

“As the club said yesterday, the camp was arranged some time ago, with the full consultation of the footballing authorities and given approval by the Scottish Government.

“Of course, we understand we are in very unique and difficult times and there are even tougher restrictions in place at home, but the camp is risk assessed and arranged in conjunction with Scottish football’s Joint Response Group.

“We have put in place all the appropriate protocols and we have undertaken the camp as we see the sporting benefits from it and hope it can do for us what it has done in the past.

“From the first day of camp yesterday and into today, the boys have been working tremendously hard as we always do on a camp which has served us so well over recent seasons.

“And that will be the format for the rest of the week, very tough, but productive and important sessions to get us ready for the second half of the season.”

Rangers fans aren’t buying it as they highlight earlier comments made by Lennon which claimed the camp was about “R&R” and getting the team’s head together:

https://twitter.com/wayside24/status/1346525155493879810

https://twitter.com/WattyAdvocaat/status/1346525178747101185

https://twitter.com/glasgowsportsfa/status/1346527287584432131

There’s likely more to come from this with reports even suggesting Kilmarnock will be citing the Celtic example as they look to reclaim points docked by the SPFL for breaching Covid protocols and missing matches in Scotland [Daily Record].

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has also previously sang a very different tune with regards the trip and may have inadvertently dropped his side in it after the defeat to Rangers.

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