The shocking double standards Celtic have a right to be annoyed about

By John McGinley

June 21, 2021

There are double standards in the situation involving Billy Gilmour and Scotland, especially if you think back to Ryan Christie’s Celtic problem last year.

Although the narrative of Celtic and pandemic protocols last season would eventually be dominated by the Dubai situation, if you cast your mind back to last October, one of our big blows involved the attacking midfielder.

Christie was in rampant form throughout September. Not only did he score crucial goals for his country against Israel and Czech Republic, he also netted against Livingston as well creating assists in matches vs Livi, Hibernian and St Mirren.

Heading into the international break he was sparkling.

He was then subsequently ruled out of the first derby of the season against Rangers. It was a definite problem for manager Neil Lennon.

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Ryan Christie and Billy Gilmour parallels

That absence was due to the player having to quarantine following his duty with Scotland.

The attacking midfielder had been playing video games in the team hotel with Stuart Armstrong and Kieran Tierney. After a positive test for Armstrong, authorities decided both Christie and Tierney had to self-isolate. That ensured Christie missed a number of international games and the derby.

Fast forward to today’s news about Billy Gilmour and, given the lack of close contacts identified in the Scotland squad, it all smacks of double standards.

Nobody is self-isolating in the Scotland squad. That’s despite videos circulating of Gilmour playing ping pong with key players Andy Robertson and John McGinn. It’s reported this isn’t required because the players were more than 2m apart with bat and ball. [talkSPORT]

However, as a Celtic fan, that doesn’t make me feel any better. Just look at what Christie had to say about his situation last autumn. The Celtic midfielder explained that he was almost double that distance away from his international teammates back in October.

He told the BBC: “It wasn’t like we were all using the one TV or PlayStation. One of us was on that side of the room facing a TV, one on the other side, and one in the middle.

“We all had headsets on and weren’t even looking at each other. The Scottish guys were measuring the distance between the seats and it was 3.8m so without even meaning it we were social distancing.

“Plus, through previous camps, we were told by the Scotland doctor that it was okay to do that.”

The double standards at play for Celtic

Christie’s absence against Rangers was made even more galling after Tierney was subsequently cleared to play for Arsenal on the same weekend.

Listen, I’m not trying to grass Scotland up here. I want the country to do well tomorrow against Croatia. I don’t want any more players to self-isolate.

I’m also not trying to create a grand conspiracy of high-ranking people being out to get Celtic last season.

There’s also no guarantee Christie would have knocked in a solo hat-trick against our rivals.

Ryan Christie in action for Celtic / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, it’s clear to see that there have been massive inconsistencies in football and the decision making of authorities. Tomorrow night, Robertson and McGinn will likely play a match in the same city that Christie was due to play Rangers in. It’s baffling.

Celtic have every right to be annoyed about that. They also have every right to demand that the Scottish FA and health authorities up here get themselves in line with the normal protocols elsewhere in the industry next season.

We can’t have a repeat of all this strangeness again.

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