Senior Government figure shares unhappiness with Celtic live on air

By John McGinley

January 4, 2021

Senior Scottish Government minister John Swinney has been speaking out against Celtic and the squad’s trip to Dubai.

Neil Lennon’s team have been drawn into controversy after flying out to the UAE following Saturday’s defeat to Rangers.

Many Celtic fans aren’t happy and, more than that, the wider public anxious about the ongoing pandemic have been left shocked too.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney was a guest on BBC Radio Scotland earlier.

He said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t think it’s a particularly great example to set.

“When we are asking members of the public to take on very, very significant restrictions on the way in which they live their lives, I think we have all got to demonstrate leadership on this particular question.”

Celtic hit back at John Swinney and Government

Celtic didn’t take long to get their ducks in a row with a statement of their own. They’ve said they received permission from the Scottish Government to travel to Dubai back in November.

A Scottish Government spokesperson, meanwhile, claimed that permission had only been granted to travel abroad for competition purposes.

Celtic are not taking part in any fixtures in Dubai. Pictures circulating online last night showed staff and players socialising.

It should be stressed that while some fans aren’t pleased with the situation, others have defended the squad’s right to travel and prepare for the rest of the season.

Celtic are in Dubai / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

The situation is incredibly messy though and it’s my belief someone senior at the club should have foreseen this drama and simply had the squad training in Scotland.

I have a feeling this one is going to rumble on throughout the week.

What will the Scottish FA and SPFL have to say?

In other news, you can read the full statements from Celtic and the Scottish Government on 67 Hail Hail.