Neil Lennon: Celtic manager rails against ‘barrage of hypocrisy’ over Dubai trip

Neil Lennon will return to the Celtic dugout on Wednesday

Neil Lennon has railed against a “barrage of absolute hypocrisy” following Celtic’s trip to Dubai.

Manager Lennon and 13 players missed two games after a positive Covid-19 test and now a further player has returned a positive test.

Celtic drew both of their matches while depleted and are 21 points behind Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers.

“We’ve been held to a far higher standard than any other club,” Lennon said.

“Protocols at different clubs are inconsistent. As soon as Celtic are deemed to do something wrong, bang, you’re all wanting blood, it’s absolutely scandalous. The fallout from this has been way too much.

“Aston Villa have shut down, Raith Rovers. They haven’t travelled anywhere. We could easily have stayed here and had an outbreak but because our protocols are so good, we’ve been able to quell that.”

Chief executive Peter Lawwell last week apologised to supporters and said the trip was a “mistake” but Lennon says the apology should have come from him.

“My apology is to the fans because 13 players and three staff had to isolate for 10 days, which is ludicrous,” said Lennon, who will return to the dugout when Celtic face hosts Livingston on Wednesday.

“I’m not apologising for anything else. I’m not apologising for going out there and training for a week. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. We did everything we possibly could to avoid the damage.

“The whole squad is negative bar two players. I think that is remarkable and I think it totally blows out of the water the way the training camp has been portrayed by certain quarters of the media, by certain pundits and by certain government officials as well.

“We did not abuse any privilege, we did the right things. We were absolutely totally professional. We had a little drink in the afternoon on a day off, completely allowed, no law breaking yet we come back to this barrage of absolute hypocrisy.

“We’ve come back, we’ve been absolutely decimated by these rules. It seems political.”

After Wednesday’s match, defending champions Celtic will still have two league games in hand.

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