The Celtic squad’s now-infamous trip to Dubai was allowed to happen after a lack of due diligence at boardroom level.
That is according to finance expert and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively to correspondent Adam Williams after chief executive Peter Lawwell admitted the excursion was a “mistake” in a humiliating Youtube apology.
The Bhoys were forced to field second-string XIs in draws with Hibs and Livingston with 13 players in isolation after coming into close contact with Chris Jullien, who tested positive for Covid-19 upon his return from the Middle East.
Maguire points to the furore which the trip has generated, with politicians wading into the debate, and says that Lawwell and the rest of the Parkhead hierarchy did not show adequate foresight in their handling of the whole affair.
He told Football Insider: “It gives those people who are opposed to football taking place free ammunition. Clearly, Nicola Sturgeon has contributed towards the debate. It was always a risk.
“It’s classic tin ear from Celtic. Yes, it was legal. Yes, it was approved by the SFL. But sometimes there are things that you can do and things that you should do. It was a risky decision and it makes the club look very foolish.
“Football is so high-profile that you’ve got to look at these decisions very carefully at board level. They should be doing a risk assessment and figuring out a worst-case scenario, and in this case the worst-case scenario happened.
“It’s indicative of the general slippage that we’ve experienced in this new lockdown.
“If they’d come back and nobody had got Covid it would have been forgotten about in 48 hours. But the fact that so many people contracted it and there were issues with Shane Duffy who returned early and wasn’t in the bubble.
“The benefits of it seem very marginal. Okay, warm weather training is great but when the whole country is in lockdown and I can’t go and see my mum… It’s not a good look.”
Celtic’s draw with Hibs leaves them 20 points behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership.
With the gap surely unassailable, Celtic look to have missed the opportunity for a long-heralded tenth successive league title.