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CELTIC ICON BACKS HOOPS IN ‘DOCKED POINTS’ ROW

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CELTIC legend Sir Kenny Dalglish has rejected suggestions his former club – and Aberdeen – should be docked points after their players’ breaking of the SPFL’s coronavirus guidelines.

There have been calls for the nine-in-a-row champions and the Pittodrie club to be severely punished after the unselfish and inexplicable actions of some of their playing staff.

However, Dalglish believes it is WRONG to even think about deducting points and making the clubs suffer such dire consequences after the misdeeds of individuals.

The Scotland footballing icon, writing in his national newspaper column, said: “On the back of the “Aberdeen 8” going to a city-centre pub before two of them tested positive for Covid-19, it emerged that Boli Bolingoli travelled to Spain for an overnighter on his days off.

“The Celtic player didn’t inform his employers, failed to quarantine on his return, and the news only emerged after he had played as a substitute at Rugby Park.

“Not only did Bolingoli’s actions put the health of several people at risk, it also caused Neil Lennon’s men to have their games against St Mirren and Aberdeen postponed.

“The Dons have had three games postponed, against St Johnstone, Hamilton Accies and Celtic. And now the players and clubs are in line for further sanctions from the SFA.

“I’m all for punishing players when they step out of line. Absolutely. The individual clubs and the authorities can decide an appropriate course of action.

“But I’m not in favour of deducting points or, as has been suggested, awarding the opposition in the affected games a 3-0 win.

“Starting to mess around with points is NOT the way ahead.

“Why should the rest of the squad, the manager and the fans be punished when they haven’t stepped out of line?

“If a player receives a red card then gets suspended, the whole team doesn’t also miss the next game.”

Dalglish added: “I’ve also heard some people suggest that Celtic must have known that Bolingoli had left the country and nipped over to Spain overnight.

“I don’t believe that for a minute.

“They were clearly oblivious to the situation. Had they known, they would never have jeopardised the health and safety of their own staff, and that of Kilmarnock.

“At the end of the day, clubs can only advise and guide players on the rights and wrongs, the dos and don’ts of the current situation.

“They can’t physically be with every player for 24 hours a day.

“Football clubs bend over backwards to give their players the best possible life on and off the park.

“But one thing they do not do is provide a baby-sitting service.

“They can’t watch them every second of every day and make every decision for them. Players are not kids. They are adults, and you need to trust them.

“Sure, one or two will inevitably let you down and you need to deal with that at the time when the facts are in front of you.

“But the whole football club should not be punished if one or two step out of line.

“My goodness, if a journalist disobeyed the guidelines and tested positive for coronavirus, should that lead to the whole office getting closed down and readers being deprived of their paper, and workers denied doing their jobs?

“Of course not. The same follows in every walk of life and football shouldn’t be any different.”

Bolingoli has almost certainly kicked his last ball for the club and will be in delayed quarantine when the Hoops take on KR ReyKjavik at Parkhead this evening in the first round of the Champions League knock-out qualifying stages.

Neil Lennon, who has allowed Republic of Ireland full-back Lee O’Connor to move to English fourth-tier club Tranmere Rovers on a season-long loan, is looking at Leeds United’s Scotland international Barry Douglas to offer competition to Greg Taylor for the left-back position.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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