Celtic manager Neil Lennon def...


Celtic manager Neil Lennon defends club's trip to Dubai

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon has defended the club's trip to Dubai as they undergo a warm weather training camp despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Lennon says the journey has been risk assessed and was arranged in conjunction with Scottish football's Joint Response Group.

Earlier, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon questioned why Celtic made the decision to travel abroad and was unsure if it fell within the current regulations for professional sport.

"For me, the question for Celtic is what is the purpose of them being there," Ms Sturgeon said.

"I've seen comments from the club that it's more for R&R than training.

"I have also seen some photographs - and I don't know the full circumstances - that would raise a question in my mind about whether all the rules elite players have to follow in their bubble around social distancing are being complied with."

Lennon said he hoped the camp will work in his squad's favour, and that they've adhered to all required protocols.

"As the club said yesterday, the camp was arranged some time ago, with the full consultation of the footballing authorities and given approval by the Scottish Government," Lennon told the Celtic website.

"Of course, we understand that we are in very unique and difficult times and there are now even tougher restrictions in place at home, but the camp is risk assessed and arranged in conjunction with Scottish football’s Joint Response Group.

"We have put in place all the appropriate protocols and we have undertaken the camp as we see the sporting benefits from it and hope it can do for us what it has done in the past."

However, the First Minister said on Tuesday that the date of the trip's arrangement had no bearing on how it's viewed.

"As I understand it the government gave advice to the Scottish FA about the rules around training camps in November," Ms. Sturgeon said.

"The world has changed quite a bit since then but it's not our role to sign off what a club does around these training camps.

"The rules may have to change, but they were that elite sportspeople and teams can go overseas if it is important in the context of training and competitions."

Republic of Ireland defender Shane Duffy departed the camp in Dubai before the rest of his club teammates.

There had been speculation the central defender was on the verge of cutting short his loan spell from Brighton.

But The Daily Record say Duffy returned home for family reasons.

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Celtic Coronavirus Covid-19 Neil Lennon Nicola Sturgeon Scotland Scottish Premiership Shane Duffy

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