Neil Lennon has discussed in a little more detail the winter training plans that led to a dispute between Hibernian and the SPFL.
Earlier this week, Hibs announced on Twitter that a decision had been made to rearrange their trip to Celtic Park, originally scheduled for January 9th, to two days later on in the 11th.
This was a tad eyebrow-raising, but Hibs Chief Executive Leeann Dempster then sent out two fuming tweets that expressed this request had come from Celtic, and that Hibs had initially rejected the first request and hadn’t been consulted again by the SPFL over the postponement.
As things stand, the game is still scheduled for the 11th, and Lennon has been touching on how long Celtic will be away for this year.
As quoted by Glasgow Live, Lennon said: “There are a lot of games and it will be good, again, for the players to get a change of scenery after that (the December run). But, yeah, we are looking to just go away for five or six days for a bit of winter training.
“It’s not a winter break, but, hopefully, we can get some benefit from that.”
Is there a genuine morale-boosting effect to winter breaks?
Usually, Celtic would head of for a fortnight to Dubai after the new year. Scottish football often goes into cold storage for several weeks after the final round of December fixtures. This has given Celtic a platform to press the reset button over the last several years and come back with a different frame of mind and ultimately power to the title.
This year that’s been removed from the Hoops. Sure, there’s a chance to get some warm-weather training in elsewhere, but it’ll be interesting to see whether that has the same effect this year given the break has been diluted.
It’s not even been confirmed as to where this week or so of training will be held. Given the current pandemic, you would imagine the club will be wanting to keep the journey as sensible as possible.
As supporters, we’ve never really been given an indication as to what makes this training break so essential to the club. Why do we see such stark differences in performance levels on either side of the break?
It’s one of the great mysteries that arrived alongside Brendan Rodgers’ revolutionary spell in charge of Celtic. Something that we may have to hang our hats on this season too if this is to be a similarly successful one.
Hopefully, we come out the other side of the winter break with an added spring in our step. Goodness knows we need it.