CELTIC will be legally entitled to sack Boli Bolingoli for breaking Covid-19 protocols if they want to make an example of the player and send out a strong message that future breaches will have severe repercussions, it was last night revealed.

Bolingoli was this week charged by the SFA for breaking Disciplinary Rule 24 and Disciplinary Rule 71 and looks certain to receive a hefty fine and lengthy ban at a hearing on Friday, August 28.

The Parkhead defender has already been issued with a fixed penalty notice of £480 by police for failing to self-isolate following a flying visit to Spain last week - and then playing in the Premiership match against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Sunday.

The 25-year-old’s actions have been condemned by his manager Neil Lennon as well as the Scottish champions, who issued a public apology to their top flight counterparts, and he has been disciplined internally.

The SFA and SPFL Joint Response Group accepted a request from the Scottish government on Tuesday to postpone matches involving Aberdeen – eight of whose players also flouted coronavirus safety guidelines by visiting a city centre bar together – and Celtic.

The Glasgow club, who are bidding to make history in the 2020/21 campaign by becoming the first club in Scottish football history to complete 10-In-A-Row, have fallen five points behind their city rivals Rangers in the league table as a result.

Many Celtic supporters have called for Belgian left back Bolingoli, who has struggled to establish himself as a first team regular since completing a £3.5m move from Rapid Vienna last year, to be sacked.

Robert Holland, employment law and sports law partner for legal firm Balfour + Manson, believes they would have no difficulty doing so as their employee has both committed a criminal offence and breached the terms of his agreement.

“I think with Bolingoli there are two issues for Celtic,” said Holland. “One is a breach of national law. It is actually a criminal offence not to self-isolate when you return from one of the quarantine countries. He didn’t do that. He went straight to the Kilmarnock game.

“That is a criminal act and any criminal act in the course of employment is grounds for termination of a contract. They would need to have an internal hearing, there must be due process. But it would certainly be grounds for that.

“Two, there is a breach of trust. Not only did he do what he did, but he did not tell the club what he was doing. He could have said: ‘Listen, I went to Spain, came back and went to the Kilmarnock game, I made a mistake’. But he didn’t tell them that.

“That goes to what we call the heart of the contract. That is breach of trust and confidence between the employer and the employee. Both together, I would have thought if Celtic wanted to do that (terminate his contract) they would have good grounds.”

Bolingoli has been linked with a temporary switch to French second tier club and Amiens and Holland conceded that Celtic may prefer to loan him out on or sell him on to recoup some of the transfer fee they paid.

However, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this week warning that she will have no hesitation suspending the game in this country once again if there are any future breaches of guidelines, he suggested the Parkhead club may be keen to show they are taking a zero tolerance approach to offenders.

“Over the years, clubs sacking a player, terminating their contract, has been very rare,” he said. “Clubs don’t want to be seen to be overly harsh on players and players will get far more leeway at a football club than ordinary workers would in their places of employment. That is certainly something that comes into play.

“Often, they will simply sideline the player rather than terminate his contract and he will be transferred or loaned out to another club.

“But if Celtic want to make a principled stance here then I think they certainly could. We are in an unprecedented pandemic here. These are not normal times. It is all about the health and safety of the staff and players. This might well be the time to take a stance against players simply ignoring the rules.”

Rangers terminated the contract of Francisco Sandaza, their Spanish striker, in 2013 after he revealed to a football fan posing as an agent that he was only at Ibrox for the money and would be open to a move elsewhere in a telephone call that was recorded and later posted on the internet.

Sandaza immediately took legal action against his former employers and reached an out-of court settlement. However, Holland believes Bolingoli will struggle to receive compensation if Celtic decide to jettison him.

“In the case of Sandaza, there was an element of entrapment,” he said. “It was a hoax call by a football fan. The rule here is very clear to everyone. Everyone knew about the quarantine situation for people travelling to Spain. The player flagrantly disregarded it.

“If the club wanted to terminate their contract and if I was advising them from an employment law perspective I would say the chances of recourse against that would be pretty low. They would have good grounds for doing it.”