Date: 4th January 2021 at 11:26am
Written by:

I don’t know if Celtic’s players were all sitting by the poolside with the manager yesterday having a beer, because I don’t know when the photos which are doing the internet rounds were taken.

I do know that the whole Dubai trip is absolutely absurd, egotistical and reckless folly.

It’s a “training camp” those at Parkhead say, but don’t we have one of those up at Lennoxtown?

Aren’t there hundreds of them all over the place?

Even if you accept the “need” for pampered athletes to have a “warm weather training camp” – which I don’t; this is a team and manager more deserving of a Rocky IV style Siberian slog through snow than any I’ve ever seen – we picked Dubai?

It was Celtic who chose, in the middle of a global pandemic when most of us aren’t allowed out of our homes, to base their “training camp” in a millionaire’s playground three quarters of the way round the world.

Even without the pictures, it stinks of pampered footballers jetting off for some sun whilst the people who pay their wages fret over real life.

It looks like a mini-holiday, and at the expense of fans who haven’t seen a minute of football inside a stadium all season long and whose views have been disregarded and ignored by the directors. It looks like a reward for failure, with the club out of three cup competitions and 19 points behind in the league.

So it was booked ages ago, so what?

It could have been cancelled just as easily.

The attitudes of everyone at Celtic Park drip contempt for us right now, from the boardroom down.

Yesterday morning, as many of us were still trying to wrap our heads around the near certainty that the title race ended on Saturday, we had to read David Turnbull telling us how we “played them off the park.”

Yeah? That’s great, and what did we get for that?

He’s new at this, so I’m hoping this is a one-off error in judgement.

But it’s not a great idea to strut and preen and posture and boast like a champion after a game you’ve lost and which has, probably, cost the club the triumph it’s been aiming for.

Honestly, if Dubai is about “hard work” and not what it looks like – the Jolly Boys Outing on steroids, paid for by our supporters – then I would recommend that they knuckle down to it instead of posing and bragging about how brilliant we were in the must-win game we didn’t win.

Everything about this reeks.

Celtic’s entire season has been one two fingered salute to the supporters after another. At some point in the next few months, season ticket renewal forms are going to be posted out … I’ll be writing more about this later, but it seems obvious to me that the disconnect between the supporters and those who run things at Parkhead has never been so obvious.

The whole season has been a shambles, so of course the New Year starts with this PR fiasco.

On top of that, all involved better cross their fingers that they don’t bring more home with them than the duty free.

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.

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