Celtic have condemned Boli Bolingoli's decision to ignore Covid-19 travel protocols by visiting Spain without informing the club, not quarantining on his return and playing in a match against Kilmarnock.
Celtic were set to play St Mirren tomorrow, but following the incident Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has today announced that Celtic and Aberdeen's games over the next week will be postponed.
"I regret that some football players seem incapable of living up to their responsibilities.
"We can't have privileged players just deciding they won't bother. Don't expect Aberdeen or Celtic to play over the coming week. This is a yellow card. Next time it will be red.
Prior to the announcement, Celtic today issued a statement describing Bolingoli's actions as "irresponsible". The side also confirmed they will take immediate disciplinary action against the defender.
In the statement the club said:
CELTIC Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions.
It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The Club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures.
Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club today, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions.
All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for Covid-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player’s actions.
The incident comes after eight Aberdeen players apologised for breaching the rules when they were seen out drinking following their 1-0 defeat to Rangers. Two of the players later tested positive for Covid-19 with the rest self-isolating. Aberdeen's match against St Johnstone on Saturday was postponed as a result.
Following the releas news of Bolingoli's trip last night, Scotland's justice minister Humza Yousaf said on twitter that the Scottish government has been left with little choice but to consider pausing the Scottish Premier League season.
Utterly unacceptable from Bolingoli. With a number of incidents, Scot Govt left with little choice but to consider whether pause is now needed in resumption of the game
Operational matter for Border Force & Police Scot, I support whatever enforcement action they deem necessary https://t.co/fvIRsjhwZr
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) August 11, 2020
A Wake-Up Call
Speaking about the incident in his press conference this morning. Rangers boss Steven Gerrard said that he has no doubt that if mistakes continue to happen then the football season in Scotland will be cancelled. The Rangers boss later added that the government's reaction has been a wake-up call for everyone involved.
"If mistakes continue to happen then there is no doubt that the football season will be cancelled and that's not what I want or anyone at Rangers wants, or I assume throughout Scottish football," he said
"It is a wake-up call and a strong message from the government" he later added.
A Tough Couple Of Weeks For Celtic
Bolingoli's breach of Covid restrictions is the latest disruption in Celtic's chase for their 10th league title in a row. Last week forward Leigh Griffiths found himself in trouble after he appeared to break Scottish social distancing laws while hosting a birthday party for this girlfriend. This was after his manager Neil Lennon had already recently criticised the forward for not being fit enough to attend Celtic's friendlies in France.