Alex McLeish has suggested Celtic could “come back with a bang” after controversially travelling for a warm-weather training camp in Dubai.
The former Rangers and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, has drawn on his experience of jetting away with Aberdeen under Sir Alex Ferguson and the impact it had on the squad.
Following a statement issued by the Scottish Government questioning Celtic’s decision to travel amid the Coronavirus pandemic, the Bhoys insisted they had gone through all the proper channels and did not break any laws.
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 left Glasgow for the UAE a day after the 1-0 defeat to fierce rivals Rangers and will return ahead of Monday’s Premiership clash with Hibernian.
However, McLeish has refused to condemn the decision and believes the training camp will have its benefits for Neil Lennon and his men as they try to claw their way back into the Premiership title race.
McLeish told Football Insider: “You have to get the circumstances, you have to get the reasons – I can’t say they’re wrong because Alex Ferguson used to take us away when there wasn’t even a break in the Scottish game.
“He took us away on the day after the game maybe in Glasgow, even that same day, if we played St Mirren or Rangers or Celtic, we would go to, not Dubai, but in those days it was Mallorca or Marbella and we would do some training.
“He’d also let the lads let their hair down, but in the early part of the week, and then they would be hard at it for the rest of the week, coming back with a bit of vitamin D in the body for the run in to winning the championship, or to winning the cup at the end of the season.
“It really always worked. I can only speak for Aberdeen and Alex Ferguson in those days, he believed in the warm winter training and we’d come back with, normally, a bang in the next game.”
Celtic currently sit 19 points behind Rangers in the Premiership table, albeit with three games in hand over their Glasgow rivals.