Here’s the thing; we’re never going to get answers, one way or the other, on when Celtic’s un-named player caught the bug.
Probably not anyway.
But the truth is, unless we can definitively prove that the infection didn’t occur in or on the way back from Dubai the latest positive case is going to cast yet another dark shadow over a trip the club should never have taken.
I think it is damned ridiculous that the media is jumping to conclusions here.
Our least favourite tabloid has already gone out and gotten a senior medical practitioner to go on the record condemning us over this when, in fact, this could just as easily be a case of a family member passing this on or the guy picked up the wrong thing at the supermarket or one of a million different scenarios where the virus could have passed to him.
Dubai isn’t the only place he’s been.
But his having been in Dubai gives our enemies all the ammunition they required.
As I said the other day about football being slated by the politicians; when football stops giving them avenues to attack it, they will stop doing it. The same doesn’t apply to the enemies of Celtic, of course, who will dream things up when there’s nothing to find, but we’re making it easy.
We’re giving them an unlimited supply of high-calibre rounds right now.
Dubai was the summit of insanity.
We shouldn’t have been near the place.
The trip was ill-judged, ill-timed, a two fingers salute to the whole support, made up, as it is, of people who don’t have the luxury of knowing their industry is protected, that their jobs are secure and who also get to live in a wee bubble where the rules don’t matter.
Taking such a trip whilst the country has to sit through lockdown … it was offensive to so many of us, and presented fans not only with an example of tin-ear arrogance but that shot of them all laughing and joking at poolside came just a few days after Ibrox.
Those who wonder if there would have been an outcry had we won that game … boy, I sure hope so.
I certainly wouldn’t have missed the club over it.
I had forgotten the players were even going until my brother in law mentioned it on Christmas Day and I was stunned – stunned – when he said it was still going ahead in spite of the restrictions in place.
People inside Celtic Park surely knew what it would look like. They surely knew that there would be outrage back in Scotland. They just didn’t care. That alone damns them.
The risk of someone coming back with the bug was ever-present as well.
“On top of that, all involved better cross their fingers that they don’t bring more home with them than the duty free,” I wrote on 4 January. “In taking this trip our club has abrogated any further right to criticise international associations for putting our players at risk. Because it seems to me that as long as there are airy hotel rooms, a bit of Christmas sunshine and some poolside beers in it for them, all at Celtic Park are perfectly content to throw caution to the wind.”
Well the wind has blown back in our faces tonight, and it’s brought with it more than some sleet.
English women’s football is facing a similar crisis tonight, and that alone shows the madness of our trip.
Three Arsenal and four Manchester City players took Christmas trips to the UAE.
All four City players came back positive … all four of them.
Arsenal haven’t released details of how many of their three tested positive but both clubs had to suspend their games after the squads were absolutely levelled by this thing. Neither could muster even a 14 person squad for their matches.
Our club can talk about bubbles and distancing and precautions … if they were really interested in keeping players as safe as possible it would have been a better idea to keep them bunkered up in Scotland.
Even if this wasn’t Dubai, unless we can prove that we’re going to eat an avalanche of dirt for it over the next 24 hours and beyond, and I hate the media for their opportunism but I also know we only have ourselves to blame.
I am disgusted with our board at the same time.
For the record; if our club did bring this bug back from the UAE then we do deserve everything we get.
If people have been lax here, on our side, then they should resign or be fired.
But our club doesn’t do that, and so I hold out no hope for it.
The folly of this was clear to all of us.
The stupidity of it was manifestly obvious.
We gambled, as we have so many times this season, that nothing would go wrong.
If that gamble has failed as so many others have, well, we need to take whatever consequences come.
This has been campaign 2020-21 so far, one that has exposed our directors and our leaders to be amateurish and completely out of step with fan opinion.
It takes a crisis sometimes to reveal the character of our leaders, and this has exposed them to searing scrutiny which has demolished all the illusions.
This is not just the enemies of our club coming for a kick tonight.
The press may have jumped the gun, and if they have then our club simply cannot let it stand and should be slamming them off every wall for it … but if this is what it looks like then the grotesque decision to take that trip has exploded in our faces in a way that will leave long-term scarring and should speed some people towards the exit door.