Celtic boss Neil Lennon blasted for 'appalling' government agenda claim
The Celtic boss had hit out at criticism of the club's Dubai trip
Neil Lennon's suggestion that the decision to force 16 Celtic players to self-isolate was driven by Scottish government agenda has been described as "absolutely appalling," by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney.
Lennon and his assistant John Kennedy were made to quarantine along with the club's players following their recent training camp in Dubai, after which defender Christopher Jullien returned a positive Covid test.
Returning from 10 days in isolation, Lennon took aim at those who had criticised the trip, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon amongst those mentioned.
"The fallout from this has been way too much and a bit of bullying going on, and we have been held to a far higher standard than any other club," Lennon said.
"I’m not going to get into a fight with the First Minister but I will take umbrage on her use of the term ‘R n R’, which she selectively picked out of interviews – completely ignoring the hard work we were intending to do, and the intensive training.
"There seems to be some sort of agenda being driven here. We have been decimated by these rules. I’m not convinced they’re a public health issue. It seems political."
Speaking to BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland on Wednesday, Swinney condemned Lennon's response.
"I'm at a loss for words," he said. "I said a few weeks ago I thought it was a really bad idea that Celtic decided to go to Dubai for this trip. I didn't think it was a particularly great signal.
"I have no ill will to Neil Lennon whatsoever, but I think his comments in this respect have been absolutely appalling."
Celtic drew both of the games which took place while the majority of their squad were in quarantine. They return for Wednesday's game against Livingstone, with the exception of Jullien.