After criticism from Nicola Sturgeon, Neil Lennon defends Dubai’s Celtics winter training camp

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NEIL Lennon defended the trip of Celtic to Dubai – maintaining that all adequate procedures were followed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had previously questioned whether during the training camp Celtic had followed elite bubble rules.

Nicola Sturgeon asks whether Celtic followed the rules of the elite bubble during a trip to Dubai

After last Saturday’s loss against Rangers, the Celtic team flew to the Middle East, a result that leaves them 19 points behind their city rivals.

The First Minister disclosed at her daily briefing that the Scottish Government had advised the Scottish Football Association (FA) on elite training camps, but clarified that “the world around the pandemic has changed quite a bit since November”

Shane Duffy leaves the training camp at Celtic Dubai to return home

Sturgeon also said pictures should be “investigated.” from the tour.

But Lennon maintained that the camp had been arranged by the authorities with complete consultation.

We’re sure the camp will be really important for us, he said, speaking to the Celtic website. It’s the same format as in previous years, with one big exception, which is the COVID protocols, but we hope to get the same boost from it and have another fantastic run in the new year as we did last season, at the moment that’s our main focus.

As the club said yesterday, with complete consultation with the soccer authorities and approval from the Scottish Government, the camp was planned some time ago. We clearly understand that we are in very special and stressful times and there are now much tougher constraints at home, but in accordance with the Joint Response Group of Scottish Football, the camp is risk assessed and organized.

“We’ve put all the appropriate protocols in place and we’ve run the camp because we see the sporting benefit in it and hope it can do for us what it has done in the past,” he said.

“From the first day of camp yesterday and up until today, the guys have worked very hard, as we always do with a camp that has served us so well over the past few seasons. And that will be the format for the rest of the week, very hard but productive and important sessions to get us ready for the second half of the season.”

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