Scotland manager rubbishes comparisons with Celtic Dubai trip

By Euan Davidson

June 4, 2021

Scotland boss Steve Clarke has firmly dismissed comparisons between Celtic’s ill-fated Dubai trip and the Covid scare in the Euros camp.

John Fleck was diagnosed with Covid-19 ahead of Scotland’s meeting with Holland. Subsequently, those closest to him in the pre-Euro 2020 training camp were forced to self-isolate. It meant 7 players missed out on the draw with Holland.

To be fair, Scotland performed valiantly despite the withdrawals. Even without John McGinn and a first-choice right-back, the Tartan Army nearly saw a famous victory. Only a sublime free kick from Memphis Depay could get the Dutch side back on level terms late on.

Of course, comparisons have been made to the Celtic trip to Dubai. After the Bhoys’ ill-advised sojourn in the Middle East, Neil Lennon, John Kennedy and a significant number of players were forced to self-isolate [Sky Sports]. Christopher Jullien, who was injured anyway, test positive during the camp. It was a mess, and it probably cost the Bhoys points we couldn’t afford to lose.

But Steve Clarke has rubbished any connection. The Scotland boss said [Sun]:

“I’m not sure it’s got anything to do with Celtic. Celtic had their own problems. We work the way we work.

“We went away for a training camp to prepare for a major tournament.

“Unfortunately John must have been in contact with someone before coming away. Everybody tested negative to get on the plane but these things can happen with two or three days of incubation.”

“Nothing to do with the Celtic situation” claims Scotland boss

Clarke continued [Sun]:

“The protocols have been good and, fingers crossed, we’ve got it under control. But it has got nothing to do with the Celtic situation.

“I know the way the Scottish psyche thinks. With Celtic and Rangers, people make a connection. But this is about the Scottish national team preparing for their first major tournament in a hell of a long time.”

Scotland boss Steve Clarke / (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

If you thought you’d heard the last of that daft trip abroad, you were wrong, I’m afraid. It appears Celtic’s training camp in the UAE is the benchmark for any and all Covid scares.

So, that’s something to take away from this season.

As for Celtic, they’re said to be “miffed” with the SFA [Daily Record]. Certainly, Bhoys chiefs do see a valid comparison, as well as plenty of supporters. But while Celtic were hammered by the footballing authorities, as well as the Scottish Government, despite figures from Holyrood approving a trip, it’s unlikely the SFA will meet more widespread condemnation.

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