Celtic appear to have banned Sky Sports from carrying out interviews with the management staff and the players.
This comes in reaction to Andy Walker’s brutal assessment of the club’s trip to Dubai. Walker spoke live on Sky Sports during coverage of Celtic’s game against Hibernian last week, in which he ridiculed the club and labelled the trip to Dubai a “jolly”.
Walker doesn’t often have Celtic fans agreeing with him, but plenty did last week. Not one Celtic supporter has been willing to accept the club’s excuses for going to the UAE. So it was pretty frustrating at times hearing the manager defend the trip.
And as he started his explosive presser yesterday, he appeared to ban Sky from interviewing Celtic players just two days before the Hoops travel to Livingston live on Sky Sports Football.
“I want an apology”
As quoted by Glasgow Live, Lennon said the following when asked a question by Sky’s Charles Patterson: “What I want is for you to go speak to Andy and for Andy to apologise because he was demanding apologies from the club. I want an apology from Andy because he is questioning my professional integrity, my players professional integrity and the use of the word term ‘jolly’ is quite crass and arrogant.
“He accused the club of being arrogant, we weren’t. We had no intention of being arrogant or rubbing it in anyone’s faces. We went out to do a good week’s work and get a volume of work we wouldn’t have got here in Scotland. Until then, you won’t be getting anything from me or my players.
“Who is Andy speaking for then? Does he speak for the Celtic support? Is he all of a sudden a man of the people? Challenging the club’s social ethos. Andy has been in the game here for 20/30 years and he’s made no contribution to Celtic whatsoever.”
Lennon not interested in Sky Sports communication unless it’s an apology
That makes for an extremely interesting broadcast tomorrow night. Celtic’s trip to West Lothian will be shown live on Sky Sports, and it’s bound to create plenty of talking points.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Walker on the show, but an apology would seem a just a touch unlikely. Walker was extremely strong and hard-hitting with his verdict on Celtic. It’s not something you can just come out and say sorry for whilst looking as though you mean it.
I’ve always felt saying it was a “jolly” was a bit over-the-top. Clearly, they do get some hard work done in Dubai and it’s been the catalyst for successful title-wins over the years. But it was more the decision to go during a pandemic that riled me. The fact we put ourselves at this kind of risk.
That’s what the club has taken some responsibility for after Peter Lawwell’s interview last week. So even though I would generally always back the manager against the likes of Walker, I’m struggling to see why he should apologise. Not when it’s something that’s been coming out of plenty of supporters’ mouths over the last week or two.
It remains to be seen if this was just a throwaway remark from Lennon regarding interviewing the club’s players and management. It could be the case that he ends up speaking to them anyway. But you’ve got to take him at face value for the time being.
It’s going to be an interesting broadcast tomorrow night in any case. And given the backlash from Lennon to Sky, you can bet they’ll be looking to hit back.