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'Celtic didn't read the room' | Celtic's COVID mess and the futures of Lennon & Duffy

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

22:32 11 Jan 2021


Robert Grieve of the Scottish Sun joined Off The Ball on Monday night where he spoke about the multiple crises unfolding at Celtic.

The club drew scorn from the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after defying travel advice to go on a break to Dubai - a positive coronavirus case followed, decimating the squad thorough close contact isolation.

Thirteen players along with Neil Lennon and some of his coaching staff are among those isolating.

The club sit 21 points behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership. The deficit was following the 1-1 draw Hibernian earlier in the evening, after conceding a late equaliser.

That match had been moved to facilitate Celtic's trip to Dubai.

"It's the optics, it's the perception. I don't think Celtic read the room very well when they made the decision to go to Dubai," said Grieve.

"Here we are, again the First Minister of Scotland speaking about Scottish football. There are people within the game who are seriously and genuinely worried that Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish football could shut Scottish football down.

"The lower leagues are already in the three week suspension just to help stop the spread, so it is a real worry that the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish Championship could be next.

"That would be a major blow financially for those clubs who are clinging on to the broadcast deal from going.

"So Nicola Sturgeon is keeping a close eye on what is going on but Celtic did not read the room. They would argue that they were given government permission, which is true.

"There is a difference between being given permission and actually deciding it is the right thing to do.

"They got that permission in November, things have changed since then. The coronavirus situation has developed and things have altered with the new strain but there doesn't seem to have been any reaction from Celtic to that new situation.

"That's why Nicola Sturgeon is unhappy about it and she will have a close eye on what happens in the coming weeks."

New Celtic manager next season

Grieve also admitted that he does not expect Manager Neil Lennon, who has been under pressure from fans in the last few weeks to be at the helm beyond the summer.

"After the Old Firm game, Dermot Desmond gave Neil Lennon his backing until the end of the season but it is highly unlikely he will be the Celtic manger come the start of next season. I just don't see that happening, unless he somehow manages to claw back that lead, but I don't see it."

Meanwhile, Shane Duffy is expected to be sent back to parent club Brighton, in a move dismissed as one that has 'not worked out.'

"He has struggled, he has not played well at all. He scored a couple of goals at the start but since then has gone rapidly downhill.

"Its not worked out. Its not worked out for him and its not worked out for the club," said Grieve.

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Read more about

Cletic Neil Lennon Nicola Sturgeon Old Firm Old Firm Derby Rangers Scottish Premiership Shane Duffy Steven Gerrard

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