Celtic’s controversial Dubai journey got here again to hang-out them because the coronavirus-hit Parkhead facet’s makeshift line-up allowed Kevin Nisbet to grab a 1-1 draw for guests Hibernian.
Boss Neil Lennon, his assistant John Kennedy and 13 first-team gamers sat out the sport after being ordered to self-isolate on their return from their controversial Dubai coaching camp.
That ruling got here after injured defender Christopher Jullien was confirmed to have contracted the virus whereas within the Center East along with his team-mates.
And there was one other sickener for the reigning champions – who had first-team coach Gavin Strachan within the dugout – as Nisbet smashed house in injury-time to cancel out David Turnbull’s late free-kick.
The gamble in flying 3,000 miles throughout a worldwide pandemic has properly and really backfired for Lennon and his workforce, who now discover themselves 21 factors behind runaway Premiership leaders Rangers, albeit with three video games in hand.
The observe and hint blow got here simply hours earlier than kick-off as Celtic confirmed the sport would go forward with out a host of their huge names.
The most recent farcical developments in a sorry saga for the Glasgow giants introduced one other rebuke from Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland’s First Minister once more questioned whether or not the journey was ‘actually important’ earlier than saying the soccer authorities ought to resolve whether or not Celtic ought to face motion.
That is still unlikely after Scottish Soccer Affiliation chief govt Ian Maxwell insisted the Hoops had damaged no guidelines in travelling to the UAE.
However the greatest backlash is prone to come from the livid Celtic assist, who’ve seen their membership slip up again and again throughout a marketing campaign by which they have been imagined to fulfil their 10-in-a-row future.
Captain Scott Brown led the record of notable absentees, with no signal of first-choice goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas, defenders Kristopher Ajer and Hatem abd Elhamed, midfield males Mohamed Elyounoussi, Ryan Christie and Olivier Ntcham and strikers Odsonne Edouard, Leigh Griffiths and Albian Ajeti both.
But the champions have been nonetheless in a position to area a workforce containing eight established first-teamers, whereas back-up stopper Conor Hazard and Stephen Welsh have each performed a handful of video games this season.
Hibs reluctantly lined up after failing with a late bid to power Celtic to retest their squad, having been warned by the SPFL they’d face ‘extreme penalties’ if they didn’t fulfil the fixture.