Rangers fans have slammed Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell for his bizarre claim that the Hoops have been affected more than any other club by Covid-19.
Celtic have come under heavy criticism over the past week for their decision to fly to Dubai for a camp immediately after their 1-0 Old Firm defeat at Ibrox on 2 January.
Despite players and staff being snapped poolside on sunloungers and Nicola Sturgeon questioning whether or not protocol had been followed, various figures from the club had defended the trip.
Yet, in an interview with CelticTV on Wednesday afternoon, Lawwell issued an apology, saying “looking with hindsight and looking at the outcome, clearly it was a mistake.”
Had the Hoops chief left it there, some may have considered the matter closed.
However, the interview lasted for several more minutes and when discussing the hardships brought about over the past year by Covid-19, he said: “This horrific pandemic has affected the whole of society, it’s affected people here in Scotland, it’s affected our supporters, it’s affected our football and it’s affected our club, probably our club more than any.”
A Message to Our Supporters.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) January 13, 2021
It’s a stunning take from Celtic’s chief exec just days after all Scottish leagues below the Championship were suspended for at least three weeks, with affected clubs considering putting staff members on furlough as a result.
Fellow Glasgow club Partick Thistle, for example, have had to deal with blow after blow during the pandemic, with the Jags harshly relegated from the second-tier last season as Celtic were awarded the Premiership title on a points-per-game basis.
The comments provoked furious responses from across Scottish football, with Rangers fans heavily critical of Lawwell.
Here’s a selection of reactions from Twitter:
"The pandemic has affected our club more than any" – what a laughable claim that is by Peter Lawwell.
— Dan (@danthegersman) January 13, 2021
‘It’s effected our club more than any’
Really? Why has it effected Celtic more than St. Mirren, Morton or even East Fife?
I keep hearing this and no one has given a reason which justifies such a comment. https://t.co/gUSNNaj8U5
— Craig MacDonald (@CraigMacDonald3) January 13, 2021
Lawell: "This pandemic has affected our club, probably our club more than any".
Tell that to all the clubs up and down the land on the verge of going bust in the coming weeks.
— Chommy (@ChommyT) January 13, 2021
It’s even worse than that, he said it had affected “probably our club more than any”. Unbelievable.
— Euan (@euangtaylor) January 13, 2021
The Pandemic has “effected our club more than any” says the Chief Executive of Celtic who were awarded a League title over Zoom and had the Scottish Cup final pushed back 7 months so they could complete their “quadruple treble” couldn’t mark their necks with a blow torch https://t.co/suF14IVh8b
— Ryan Stewart (@Razged1990) January 13, 2021
@ClydeSSB our club more than any! Excuse after excuse with this guy. Embarrassing!
— Andrew murphy (@Andrewm11367184) January 13, 2021
Affected your club more than any? Let’s see what Partick Thistle, Hearts and all the lower league clubs who’ve just had football cancelled have to say about that @ClydeSSB
— Afton Montygoomurray (@AftyGotTweets) January 13, 2021
First class comedy from Lawwell. Refutes any charge of arrogance then in the next sentence states that Covid has affected Celtic more than any other club. Total nonsense.
— Chris Graham (@ChrisGraham76) January 13, 2021
I’m still waiting on anyone explaining how they have been affected by any club more than any. They got handed a league title by zoom and the Scottish cup moved into this season to accommodate their treble 😂😂😂
— 🇫🇮 King Kamara 🇫🇮 (@Predator1986) January 13, 2021
It’s unbelievably tone deaf. Beyond hubris!
— Tom Culshaw MMA (@TomCulshawMMA) January 13, 2021
The SFA’s recent decision to halt all but the top two divisions has left a number of Rangers loanees in limbo, while an SPFL member club has called for drastic changes to the Scottish game.