Celtic: Neil Lennon's government agenda claim is 'appalling', says deputy first minister John Swinney

We did the right things - Lennon

Celtic manager Neil Lennon's claims of a Scottish government agenda against Celtic are "absolutely appalling," says deputy first minister John Swinney.

Lennon said politics and not public health drove the decision for 16 Celtic players and staff to self-isolate after Christopher Jullien contracted Covid.

Jullien, and subsequently a second player, tested positive following the club's Dubai training camp.

"I'm at a loss for words," Swinney told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland.

"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."

Responding to those comments before Wednesday's game with Livingston, Lennon said of Swinney: "That's his opinion. That's the end of it."

Celtic were granted approval in November by the government and football authorities to embark on the January trip.

The club's chief executive Peter Lawwell said last week that the club "profoundly apologise" to supporters and that the trip was "clearly… a mistake".

Lennon, his assistant John Kennedy and 13 players missed Celtic's last two matches - both of which were drawn - while in quarantine.

All were available for the trip to Livingston, with the exception of the unnamed player who tested positive during isolation.

French defender Jullien was on the trip to Dubai despite being sidelined with a knee injury that is expected to keep him out until May.

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