Neil Lennon responds to Celtic club photo issue after Scottish Government speak out

By John McGinley

December 6, 2020

Manager Neil Lennon is not concerned about Celtic receiving any punishment from footballing authorities after the Scottish Government spoke out against a recent club photo.

The Celtic squad gathered at Lennoxtown last month for the annual player photoshoot, with the 2020/21 group pictured in the usual manner (YouTube).

However, after a similar photo was taken by Dundee United last week, with subsequent positive COVID-19 tests at Tannadice, there has been condemnation of the practice.

A Scottish Government spokesperson told Sky Sports: “We would condemn any gathering at a football club or sporting venue that is in breach of the Covid-19 guidance – wherever it takes place – agreed between the SPFL and the Scottish Government, that puts individuals and their families at risk of infection and serious illness.

“If the examples being highlighted today do prove to have happened, we would consider them deeply disappointing and irresponsible, and would expect this to be taken extremely seriously by the football authorities.

“Professional football has considerable privileges – but these depend on following the guidance.”

The manager addressed the issue live on Sportsound this afternoon, before kick-off against St Johnstone.

Asked if he is worried about punishment or if it’s been a distraction in the build-up, Lennon told BBC Radio Scotland (14:32): “Not at all, we only became aware of it this morning. We’ve been through every protocol and every guideline.

“There’s nothing to worry about from our point of view. Every player is negative again, every staff member is negative and that’s been the case since June.”

That chimes with a similar spokesperson statement from the club last night.

Celtic clearly feel comfortable with what has happened despite the media speculation and comment from the Scottish Government.

Celtic training at Lennoxtown / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

I’m with the club here. It seems daft to me that this would be seen as such an issue given the players are already training and travelling together.

Celtic have taken their obligations with testing incredibly seriously this year, even investing in specialist equipment to make the process easier.

Hopefully, this doesn’t result in any strange decisions from the SPFL or SFA.