Up to 13 Celtic players, as well as manager Neil Lennon and assistant coach John Kennedy have been forced into solitary confinement following close contact with a player who tested positive for coronavirus upon his return from ‘a recent training camp in Dubai.
Celtic spent nearly a week training in the warm winter weather in affluent Gulf state, but center-back Christopher Jullien tested positive after returning to Scotland.
The Scottish champions have confirmed all other squad members and coaching staff have returned negative tests, but the rules dictate that Lennon, Kennedy and 13 players must now enter administrative segregation.
A club statement read: “Contacts were identified during the Wednesday period of last week, primarily around flights and travel by team coaches, in which Celtic applied the same rigorous protocols used to pre-season training camps, UEFA match trips and for all domestic match arrangements in Scotland. “
The club insist that the protocols in place have served them well before and that the team’s ‘bubble’ was not compromised at all before Jullien’s test. Celtic also contend that a positive test was just as likely if the team had remained in Scotland following other cases at other clubs.
The isolation goes into effect on the same day Celtic play Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership. This game, which is set to start at 7:45 p.m. Monday night, will continue, despite the erasure of Lennon’s first team and the inability of the boss himself to lead the team.
Celtic expressed their thanks to “the Scottish FA, JRG and the Scottish Government for their help in handling this matter”.
On Sunday evening, anyone returning to Scotland from Dubai since January 3 is asked to self-isolate for ten days, although Celtic were already in Dubai when the announcement was initially made. But since the club’s travel was for professional purposes, elite athlete status grants an exemption.
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