Celtic have been rocked by the news that 13 of their players have been forced to self-isolate following their post-Old Firm training trip to Dubai.
Upon returning to Glasgow, one member of the travelling party returned a positive case, defender Christopher Jullien, meaning 13 of Celtic's players are now unavailable for selection. Furthermore, manager Neil Lennon and assistant John Kennedy will also be forced to self-isolate.
With all football below Scotland's top two tiers halted due to rising coronavirus cases, this news had thrown Celtic's match against Hibernian into doubt. However, according to a club statement, the match will be played.
Celtic Football Club Statement. https://t.co/mvvGWaGObh
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) January 11, 2021
The club's statement thanked "Scottish FA, JRG and the Scottish Government for their assistance in managing" the positive case in question before going onto give the reasoning behind the trip to Dubai as "performance" enhancing.
The statement continues that the club adhered to strict UEFA-sanctioned coronavirus protocols as they have done for months, and that the positive case could have occurred whilst they remained in Scotland.
It concludes with saying that the club "has worked closely with the Scottish Government and Scottish football and will continue to do so."
Celtic's six day trip to Dubai raised questions from all facets of Scottish football, with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon questioning the wisdom behind the team leaving the country unnecessarily amidst a pandemic.
Sturgeon stated that she had "doubts about whether Celtic's trip to Dubai was essential."
"I know Celtic have a different view to mine about whether the trip was essential."
These questions became more audible when photographs emerged of Celtic players and staff lounging around a pool not adhering to social distancing guidelines nor wearing face coverings.
Assistant manager John Kennedy, who will be self-isolating, said on Saturday that Celtic were guilty of "minor slip-ups" by not adhering to Covid-19 protocols on their training trip.
Furthermore, Christopher Jullien is anticipated to be out of action for a number of weeks due to injury. Therefore, the necessity of his role in the training in Dubai is seemingly nil.
For Celtic, this was an entirely avoidable situation.