Celtic boss addresses sending international players to red-list countries

By David Walton

August 26, 2021

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has confirmed that the club will look into joining English sides in refusing to release international players for fixtures in red-list countries.

English clubs confirmed last week that players would be halted from playing in countries on the UK Government’s red list.

Celtic could have a similar issue on their hands. Ismaila Soro, should be called up to the Ivory Coast squad, would face a match in Mozambique. This is a country currently on the government’s red list.

And Postecoglou has admitted the club will need to take a closer look, and hinted that the Hoops will indeed take the same stance as the EPL sides.

As quoted by the Herald, Postecoglou said: “We’ll definitely have a look at it. At the moment, I haven’t seen that Soro has been selected in the squad, but we are all aware of the situation, same as other clubs.

“It is also about players and their health and wellbeing as well with these travel commitments, and we’ll see with any players who are affected and work through the process. My view is that the way the world is currently, I don’t think it’s the wisest thing to send them off into areas where there are potentially going to be some issues for the players. But we’ll deal with that on a case-by-case basis.

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“It’s not about club and country. It’s about the players, more importantly. We’ve seen that Covid is still a prevalent issue in society and I think with all of these decisions, you just have to talk your way through them and come to the best decision for the player.”

Celtic need to take hardline stance on international players this season

Celtic will undoubtedly want to take all precautions available to them this season. Last year, we were left struck by constant Covid related issues when it came to international travels.

Firstly, we had the likes of Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard miss out the first Glasgow derby of the season. This was due to the fact the latter picked up the virus whilst the former was deemed a close contact of an international team-mate.

We then had the Dubai fiasco last season that led to Celtic needing to field weakened squads in two crucial league matches.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

So the Hoops are right to take a more hardline stance on players leaving for their international teams this season. And for those visiting red list countries? Celtic should be absolutely clamping down on that immediately.

It’s the Hoops that pay the players’ wages after all. If their trip means we could potentially be without them for two weeks or so, Celtic have every right to tell players no. It’s not as if we’re going to be compensated for it.

Where Celtic go from here will be interesting. But allowing Soro to take part against Mozambique would be asking for bother.

In other news, AZ Alkmaar boss warns against underestimating Celtic

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