Throughout all of the furore over Dubai, the club has mounted one line of defence; that this was a training camp.
That this wasn’t a holiday of any kind.
That it wasn’t a jaunt.
It wasn’t, as I called it, a “Jolly Boys Outing on steroids.”
No, this was about getting team into shape so that they could return refreshed and fitter than ever. This is our story.
“As we have already stated, Celtic’s decision to travel to Dubai for a training camp was for performance reasons,” says the statement we just released.
Well that claim is in ashes as the identity of our virus positive player is revealed; it’s Christopher Jullien.
Who went to Dubai on crutches.
Who is confirmed as being out for months, and whose presence there cannot remotely be defended on the grounds that the thing was about performance training or anything else having to do with the conditioning of players.
Nicola Sturgeon is entirely right to question whether this was about training.
We had the manager tell the media before we left that it was about “R&R” and now we find out that the player who tested positive wasn’t able to train but made the trip anyway.
His being there confirms that our alleged reasons are nothing but fig-leaf excuses.
Those involved simply fancied a break and they used an SFA exemption for elite sport training camps as a cover to go off on one, and to Hell with how it looked and how it sat with the rest of us. To Hell with what it did to the public image of our club.
The statement we just released expressing our “disappointment” is more contemptible garbage. It points out that this could just as easily have happened in Scotland as Dubai, as if that gives us some kind of Get Out Of Jail Free card.
The claim that the club has “done all it can” for the safety of the players and staff is nonsensical.
The only way it’s true is if you discount completely this entire state of affairs, because it does not take a genius to realise that needlessly transporting the whole of the playing squad and management team and God knows who else halfway across the world for a bit of sun during a global pandemic is ever so slightly enhancing their level of risk.
In asking us to swallow their statement, the club continues to treat people with contempt. It continues to deny what is obvious to all of us. It flies in the face of the poolside pictures, Jullien’s spot on the plane and the words of the manager himself.
If this was a case of our enemies coming for us – which it isn’t, this is entirely the fault of our club and the people in it – we are not only handing them the ammunition but the guns as well.
Had the intent here been to look hypocritical and amateurish and out of touch those at Celtic could not have contrived a better strategy for doing so.
We will be lucky to avoid a major inquiry over this trip.
We are very fortunate that we are able to call on the second tier ranks of our squad, because if we had to ask for a postponement we wouldn’t get one; instead we’d have forfeit the games.
What a colossal mess we are in right now.
The virus has one positive effect as far as our club is concerned, just one; those who “run things” at Celtic do not have to face the wrath of 60,000 paying customers. By the time they do, I very much doubt they’ll have such large numbers to be concerned about.