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CELTIC ‘AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER,’ INSISTS McCOIST

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ALLY McCOIST has called Celtic’s season “an unmitigated disaster”.

And the former Rangers player and manager claimed Neil Lennon’s media conference yesterday was “bizarre”.

The Hoops boss was clearly enraged by recent attacks on the club following the ill-fated trip to Dubai and the Covid-19 fall-out after Christopher Jullien tested positive for the virus upon the squad’s arrival in Glasgow 11 days ago.

Thirteen players were ordered to self-isolate as a consequence and missed the 1-1 draw with Hibs last Monday and the goalless deadlock with Livingston on Saturday. Lennon and his No.1 John Kennedy were also forced into quarantine with first-team coach Gavin Strachan taking over dug-out duties.

The champions now head for West Lothian tomorrow night looking for the first win in 2021 at the fourth attempt after also losing 1-0 at Ibrox on January 2.

Lennon launched an astonishing broadside against the media, pundits and the Scottish Government as he reacted furiously to criticism of the training camp.

McCoist, speaking on talkSPORT, said: “It’s just been a PR disaster.

“I honestly can’t remember an own goal like it in Scottish football for a long time.

“I saw the whole interview, I can’t agree with Neil – it sounds as though his chief executive Peter Lawwell can’t agree with Neil.

“Peter Lawwell came out and apologised then Neil’s come out and said something completely different, he apologised to the fans for not having 13 players available.”

A furious Hoops manager called for an apology from ex-Celtic striker Andy Walker as he called the trip “a jolly” on Sky Sports News before the game against Hibs.

McCoist commented: “Andy Walker and I did the Rangers v Celtic game.

“The final whistle blew and I turned to Andy Walker and said: ‘I cannot believe they’re jumping on a plan in an hour and a half to fly to Dubai’.

“He looked at me, shook his head, and said: ‘Neither can I’.

“Even then we knew that this just had the potential to become a disaster – and it is, make no mistake about it.

“You think of Celtic this year going for 10 In A Row: the signings that they’ve made, the signings that they haven’t made in terms of Fraser Forster or even re-signing Craig Gordon, going to Dubai, Covid, shooting themselves in the foot – it’s just been an unmitigated disaster for them.

On the warm-weather training trip to the United Arab Emirates, McCoist said: “The fact is they shouldn’t have gone, that’s the bottom line.

“They’re saying they didn’t do anything wrong – think of their supporters! Some of them on furlough, can’t see their families and they’re watching the boys sitting at the pool having a beer!

“And I know they’ve done nothing wrong, but it’s not a good look. It’s a terrible image at the very least.

“So, I just think, what an own goal it is from Celtic. It’s remarkable. Absolutely remarkable.”

McCoist added: “I won’t lie to you, I watched the press conference twice because it was incredible.

“Where was Neil going with his attack? Everybody got it: the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon got it, the SFA, the Scottish national team got it. Margaret Ferrier, the MP, got it for travelling up and down on a train.

“It was bizarre!”

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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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