Neil Lennon breaks silence on international chaos for Celtic players

By John McGinley

October 14, 2020

Neil Lennon has spoken about the ‘huge impact’ the ongoing pandemic has had on his squad during the international break, in a new interview with The Celtic View (14/10, page 4).

Odsonne Edouard, Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed have all tested positive for COVID-19; meanwhile, Ryan Christie has been forced into self-isolation following close contact with former Bhoys midfielder Stuart Armstrong.

The situation has left Lennon’s team somewhat depleted for the upcoming visit of Rangers.

Some fans have been left angry by it all, calling on the club to withdraw players from international duty.

Celtic have released statements about the situation over the last 10 days, but we haven’t heard much from the manager on it all.

Charlton Athletic 1-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

He’s taking a balanced view.

As quoted by The Celtic View (14/10, page 4), Lennon said: “The coronavirus had a huge impact on us during the international break. If we think about all the testing we’ve done within the bubble at Celtic, we’ve been very strict and the protocols have all been followed.

“We’ve had some guys ruled out now, and then you’re sitting at home biting your nails hoping nothing else happens. Even if we could though, you never really want to stop a player from playing for his country, because it means so much to them.

“It’s difficult for UEFA, it’s difficult for the clubs because of the concertina impact it’s going to have on the season, and this is all new to everyone.”

I’m personally of the opinion that UEFA should not have progressed with the Nations League. It’s a glorified friendly tournament that doesn’t have any history or prestige to it.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Surely the governing body could have pushed the Nations League back and focused on completing the European Championship play-offs?

Likewise, youth football should not be going ahead.

Lennon has taken a more diplomatic stance, but hopefully, the club seriously thinks about what their stance will be ahead of next month’s break.

In other news, the manager has provided a training update on Diego Laxalt ahead of this weekend’s match against Rangers.