Celtic AGM: Chairman slams Scottish Government for treating club "astonishingly"

By David Walton

November 17, 2021

Celtic chairman Ian Bankier has today told the club’s AGM that the Hoops were treated “astonishingly” by the Scottish Government last year.

The Boli Bolingoli incident saw the Hoops slip behind Rangers in the title-race early on. A positive Covid case after returning from Dubai also led to Celtic losing momentum in January after being ordered by health officials to play shadow squads.

Celtic fans were left disappointed at how much the club was being punished for certain incidents last term. Especially when it felt as though rival sides weren’t being as harshly treated when it came to Covid breaches.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But just as frustrating was Celtic’s lack of fight in the battle. Speaking at today’s AGM, Bankier said the following via Football Scotland’s live blog [12:53]: “I’ve got no doubt we had worst rub of the green you could imagine.

“We were astonishingly treated by the Scots government. We were the only company to be given sanctions for employee rules. That was the start of the down slide. We were banned for two games which stopped momentum and had a lot of things go wrong. It was terrible.

“I’m not shying away there were other aspects of the season we didn’t do well enough, but I’m a supporter in that.”

Celtic didn’t publicly fight their corner enough when it came to Covid inconsistencies

According to the Record’s live blog [12:55], Bankier rhetorically asked whether the board were supposed to take on the government. That was said to have been met with resounding “Yes” from the room.

And that was the issue in a nutshell last season. Neil Lennon, for all of his faults, was the only one to come out and consistently condemn the way the club was treated. There simply wasn’t enough fight publicly from the club.

Not that we’re saying it would’ve changed all that much. The government would’ve held firm and Celtic still likely would’ve had to play without some of their top stars. But it’s the image it would’ve represented.

Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images

With regards to the Dubai debacle, much of that is on the club for going in the first place. A ridiculously tone-deaf move from Celtic that should’ve been reversed as soon as fan anger over it got out. It was massively disappointing that they couldn’t see why it was morally wrong to begin with.

But there’s no point moaning about the Scottish Government when we were happy to sit there and accept it at the time. If Celtic believed there were double standards at play, they should’ve made it public and really caused a storm.

But then again, that would be showing a bit of passion wouldn’t it?

In other news, Celtic AGM: Nicholson discusses scouting plans; vital new recruit being sourced