Noel Whelan has been left fuming after the Celtic board defended the decision to hold a warm-weather training camp in Dubai this month.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United striker insisted it was “ridiculous” the Hoops chose not to cancel the trip amid rising cases of Covid-19 and new government guidance.
Having come under heavy fire from fans, pundits and politicians, the Bhoys issued an official statement via their Twitter account to defend their decision as they insisted they went through all the proper channels to get permission to travel.
The team travelled prior to any new lockdown being in place, to a location exempt from travel restrictions. The camp, the same one as we have undertaken for a number of years has been fully risk assessed.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) January 4, 2021
The Bhoys jetted out in the aftermath of their 1-0 derby day defeat to Rangers and returned to Glasgow on Friday.
Whelan has joined the long line of critics condemning the Hoops for travelling and suggested the decision-makers at Parkhead had put the players at risk by not cancelling the trip.
Asked what he thought of the Celtic statement, Whelan told Football Insider: “It does seem a little bit ridiculous that they chose to go when, in my opinion, you’re better off staying at home, keeping everybody safe in their own environment, but you know this is obviously being a trip has been planned.
“They’ve carried on what they normally do during this time, I think they went there last year as well, it is what it is – the problem is I don’t care whether it’s been organised last year when Covid wasn’t here, the fact is Covid is here.
“It could very easily been cancelled. I’m sure they’ve got insurance on the flights and everything else, as you would do properly and every chance you’d get that money back, because of the Covid these days. Even if you don’t, it’s protection of the players.
“Travelling abroad, you’re taking a risk and when you come back there’s gonna be more Covid tests and isolation.
“It should have been stopped, they shouldn’t have gone away, they should have stayed in their bubble, in their homes and everywhere where you can keep an eye on them safely. I don’t think it’s the right time to go travelling abroad.”