THE risks of going to Dubai on a mid-season training camp, Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy assured over the weekend, were worth the potential reward. A penny now for his thoughts.

Unfortunately we may have to wait a while to hear them, with Kennedy now forced to self-isolate, as do Neil Lennon and 13 members of the Celtic first-team squad.

It appears that the prize for their recklessness is the disappearance of the faint scintilla of hope they had of salvaging some sort of challenge for the title in the second half of the season, as a depleted home side were held by Hibernian at Celtic Park.

And where would they be without David Turnbull? The answer of course is a great deal further behind Rangers than the 21 points that currently separates the sides at the top of the Premiership.

During what can only be described as a shambles of a season to date for the club, and on the day when their title defence surely finally and fatally imploded, the wonderfully gifted former Motherwell man looked to have pulled them out of the fire.

His glorious  free-kick 10 minutes from time seemed to have salvaged an unlikely win, and at least shift a little of the attention from the post-Dubai furore that threatened to engulf the club. Kevin Nisbet had other ideas though, and his scrambled 90th minute leveller ensures that Celtic’s ill-fated training camp will remain at the top of the news cycle for a good while yet.

The team lines were the most eagerly anticipated of the season for all the wrong reasons, but Celtic’s third in command Gavin Strachan was at the helm of a side that was still pretty strong at its heart, despite the rather cobbled together look of the supporting cast.

There was no Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie, Leigh Griffiths, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Albian Ajeti, Hatem Elhamed or Olivier Ntcham. There was however the surprise inclusion of Shane Duffy at centre-back, despite Celtic assistant Kennedy stating over the weekend that he wouldn’t be able to play in the match after leaving the team ‘bubble’ to fly home early from Dubai, and a sprinkling of youth players including debutant Cameron Harper, who led the line in the absence of, well, anyone else.

There was then the spectacle of the Celtic players performing a socially-distanced huddle prior to the match, which had more than the feel of closing the stable door long after the horse had bolted.

As for Hibs, they were on a hiding to nothing. The wages of Duffy alone would probably be on a par with Jack Ross’s line-up, but the onus was now on a side who had convincingly lost consecutive games to Ross County and Livingston to rock up to Celtic Park and win.

It was a decent end-to-end start to the match, with Hibs looking the more dangerous. Conor Hazard had to save smartly from long-range efforts from Joe Newell and Nisbet, before Turnbull forced the first save of Matt Macey’s Hibs career with a shot of his own from 25 yards.

Harper should have crowned his Celtic debut with a goal as Newell dallied on the ball at the edge of the Hibs box and was robbed by Mikey Johnston, who in turn slipped the youngster in. With the angle narrowing though, he could only shoot into the side-netting.

Glasgow’s East End is of course a long way from Dubai, and it felt like it as the rain came hurtling down from the night sky, and the downpour created a zip to the surface that Celtic tried to make use of. A couple of long-range efforts from Ismaila Soro and Diego Laxalt in quick succession got Macey’s attention once more, but the on-loan Arsenal man dealt with both shots well.

A wonderfully executed trademark scoop pass from Turnbull then deserved better than the pulled volley from Callum McGregor that skidded wide on the end of it, but it had been a reasonably absorbing contest at a drenched Celtic Park as we reached half-time.

Lewis Stevenson replaced Josh Doig at the break to rack up his 500th appearance for Hibs, and it wasn’t long before Christian Doidge joined him for the ineffective Drey Wright, as Ross seemed to smell blood.

Harper had run himself into the ground in less than an hour, pulling up with cramp on 58 minutes,  and he made way for Armstrong Oko-Flex as Strachan made his first change of the night.

Hazard had to look smart as he raced from his line to deny Melker Hallberg, but the two sides were struggling to create chances in the second half.

Strachan threw on Karamoko Dembele with a little over 10 minutes left, but it was the player who is fast becoming Celtic’s talisman that assumed responsibility.

Turnbull himself was felled on the edge of the area, and he picked himself up to curl a beauty into the top right-hand corner of Macey’s goal.

Just as it looked as though Celtic would scrape three precious points though, a free-kick was swung in at the other end by Stevie Mallan, and headed towards goal by Stephen McGinn. Duffy scrambled off the line, but Nisbet was on hand to slam home from close range, and put the tin lid on a nightmare 24 hours for the champions.