Celtic’s PR own goal showed breathtaking arrogance and lack of empathy



AS a Celtic supporter and long-time season ticket holder, I completely agree with Martin Hannan’s view that the club’s ill-advised trip to Dubai for their winter camp in the middle of a worsening global pandemic demonstrates the alarming extent of mismanagement and lack of coherent leadership that exists at present (Dubai trip is a reputational disaster for Celtic, January 12).

Though the trip may have been technically permitted by the Scottish Government and the governing football authorities, it hardly fell under the category of “essential travel” as mainland Scotland remained in Level 4.

 Martin Hannan: The reputation of Celtic has been tarnished by Dubai Covid scandal

A club that had a considerable fixture backlog to fulfil, and that came under fire at the start of the pandemic for their insensitive treatment of non-playing staff, once again demonstrated a complete lack of respect for their supporters and the wider Scottish public.

Their PR own goal was made all the more morally repugnant by travelling again to a country with a questionable record on human rights and returning with a player testing positive for Covid-19 who should not have been on the trip due to a long-term injury.

The hierarchy at Celtic FC consistently appear to be out of touch with the values and ethos of their core support, and their decision-making here is contemptuous of the sacrifices people in this country have made throughout the duration of the pandemic.

 Peter Lawwell issues apology to Celtic fans for Dubai trip

Regardless of their current footballing travails, the decision to go ahead with this trip demonstrates a breathtaking arrogance and lack of empathy. It was clearly morally wrong and the club should apologise for its grave mistakes. The board’s refusal to accept responsibility beggars belief and allows us an insight into the paranoid and defensive mindset therein.

It is not, as Mr Hannan suggests, the role of the Scottish Government to micromanage institutions like Celtic FC. The club’s reputation is in tatters and they alone are culpable.

Owen Kelly


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