Glasgow Celtic’s trip to Dubai was meant to improve their performance. Yet, in fact, it turns out to leave more issue and potentially disrupt their campaign this season. It has been reported that their French defender Christopher Jullien has been tested positive coronavirus after his return with the rest of the team. The club made a statement regarding such update.
“Celtic Football Club confirmed today that Christopher Jullien has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating at home. We wish Christopher a speedy recovery.
Unfortunately, the issue did not stop there. According to the club, there are thirteen other cases in the team, including the head coach Niel Lennon and his assistant, John Kennedy, as they were having a close contact with the Jullien in the training camp. They all have to go through the self isolation stage based on the suggested health protocol for the precaution to avoid the spread in the entire squad. As a result, Bhoys were taking on Hibernian without fourteen players and Neil Lennon plus his assistant on the touchline. The game eventually ended in a draw. With such limited names in the squad, the reigning champion’s hope to reduce the margins with Rangers this season might be tougher than expected.
Their Dubai trip seems to be rather controversial agenda and has been questioned by the government, including the Scotland First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, despite Bhoys’ statement on applying the rigorous health protocol and UEFA match travel arrangement for the particular practice there. She stated her doubt and criticised the importance of having such plan in this world pandemic.
Glasgow Celtic squad left Scotland for the training camp in Middle East on Wednesday 30th December. Presumably, that was the date when players and the staff were identified to have contacts to one another. Not long after, the national stricter lockdown in UK was announced on the 4th January. They returned on 8th and the case was just confirmed recently, which means they might not have followed the social distancing properly during their stay there.
Neil Lennon’s men are in need of securing maximum points to reduce the 23 points margin with Steven Gerrard’s Glasgow Rangers on the top of the table. It will be their first failure to win the Scottish top tier since 2011 if they stay below their archrival till the end of the season.