Neil Lennon has defended Celtic’s journey to Dubai after Nicola Sturgeon claimed the Scottish Premiership facet had inquiries to reply.
The First Minister commented that images she has seen from Celtic’s coaching camp steered the squad may not be complying with social distancing tips.
Celtic, nevertheless, insisted that they’d acquired Scottish Authorities approval for his or her mid-season journey following criticism of the timing of their tour, two days earlier than Scotland went into lockdown from already strict restrictions.
Journey, even inside Scotland, is simply permitted for ‘important causes’ and the Scottish Authorities requested the Scottish Soccer Affiliation to analyze the matter on Monday.
Talking at her media briefing on Tuesday, Sturgeon mentioned: “As I perceive it, the Scottish Authorities gave some recommendation to the SFA concerning the guidelines round elite coaching camps again in November final yr. The world across the pandemic has modified fairly a bit since November.
“It’s not our position to log off or agree or not agree on what a soccer membership does by way of coaching camps. We set out what the principles are.
“The principles have been – and so they might have to alter given the altering nature of the pandemic – that elite sports activities can go abroad for coaching camps if that’s vital within the context of their coaching for competitions.
“For me, the query for Celtic – and I’m attempting to be diplomatic right here – will not be a lot ‘are they abroad at a coaching camp?’. It might be, given altering circumstances, that in future that gained’t be acceptable.
“However that’s not likely the query. It’s ‘what’s the objective of them being there’?
“I’ve seen a remark from the membership that mentioned it’s extra for R and R than it’s for coaching.
“I’ve additionally seen some images – and I can solely touch upon what I’ve seen, I don’t know the complete circumstances – that may increase a query in my thoughts about whether or not all the principles at what elite gamers should do of their bubble round social distancing are being complied with.
“So I believe there are issues there that must be regarded into.”
Sturgeon added that sports activities groups shouldn’t ‘abuse’ their privileges. Lennon claimed Celtic had put all of the related protocols in place.
“Because the membership mentioned yesterday, the camp was organized a while in the past, with the complete session of the footballing authorities and given approval by the Scottish Authorities,” he informed the membership’s official web site.
“In fact, we perceive that we’re in very distinctive and troublesome occasions and there are actually even more durable restrictions in place at residence, however the camp is danger assessed and organized along with Scottish soccer’s Joint Response Group.
“Now we have put in place all the suitable protocols and we have now undertaken the camp as we see the sporting advantages from it and hope it will probably do for us what it has performed up to now.
“From the primary day of camp yesterday and into at present, the boys have been working tremendously onerous as we all the time do on a camp which has served us so nicely over latest seasons.
“And that would be the format for the remainder of the week, very powerful, however productive and vital periods to get us prepared for the second half of the season.”