Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government condemned Celtic’s decision to undertake a week’s training camp in Dubai during the midst of a global pandemic. The club have responded by demonstrating that they were in fact given permission by the authorities as early as 12 November 2020, however, the trip has gone down with some fans like a lead balloon.
Matters weren’t helped by the fact that photos soon emerged from the resort, which appeared to show Neil Lennon and Scott Brown laying by a swimming pool drinking pints of lager. The Hoops currently sit 19 points behind league leaders Rangers and have gone into the trip on the back of a 1-0 Old Firm defeat. Moreover, Neil Lennon has consistently criticised the fitness of his players throughout the campaign, which contradicts the decision to allow them to drink alcohol in the middle of the season.
It’s fair to say that some fans are furious. Indeed, many Celtic supporters took to social media to vent their fury:
Seeing Neil Lennon having beers poolside with Scott Brown in Dubai, does anyone still have any confidence in the January review promised by Lawwell?
— Joe (@JGS1888) January 4, 2021
So the Celtic training camp in Dubai looks like a right hard shift. pic.twitter.com/SofZFJNazu
— Devils Advocate (@Devi1sAdv0cate) January 3, 2021
Other reactions are a little too x-rated to include, but it certainly seems to be a PR disaster by the Scottish champions.
That said, one Hoops fan has spotted a similarity from Brendan Rodgers’ time at the club, when he took the players to Dubai.
Just to add a bit of balance to the Dubai debate about fitness regimes
Brendan Rodgers Celtic in Dubai
— Celtic Collectibles (@CollectCelticFC) January 4, 2021
One can deduce that the difference in circumstances is the greater problem. Rodgers swept all before him on the domestic front and led the team to an Invincible Treble. This current crop of players sit 19 points behind Rangers in the league table and thus it isn’t a great look to be having a beer at poolside during a global pandemic, in the eyes of many.