CELTIC chief executive Peter Lawwell has apologised to supporters for the club’s trip to Dubai.

In a video posted to the Celtic website, Lawwell admitted it was a judgement of error for Celtic to embark on a trip to the middle east, but added the club had been hit "worse than any" by the pandemic.

He said on the trip: “Looking with hindsight, looking at the outcome of the trip, clearly it was a mistake and for that I profoundly apologise to our supporters.

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“We left here and the rational for the camp was with the very much best intentions. Things haven’t gone the way we wanted to, and the outcome is clearly very regrettable.”

Asked why the trip went ahead in the first place, Lawwell continued: “If you look back over the last four years, going to the camp in Dubai has been extremely successful. The decisions we made are entirely for the best interest of the team and the best interest of the club.

“In terms of the facts surrounding the trip, we decided way back in November to go, and were permitted to go.

HeraldScotland:

“What we planned to do was take them to these facilities again – which are world class – after a very, very hectic programme in November and December, which has in the past proven to be of great benefit in terms of performance after January.

“To take them there, to give them the training, and come back and get to that performance level again, that was the rationale.

“In terms of the facts surrounding the trip, we decided way back in November to go, and were permitted to go.

“Clearly, the landscape has changed significantly, particularly in the run-up to us going to Dubai in terms of the infection rate."

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Leaked photos appeared to show Celtic players breaking social distancing rules, which upset fans who were simultaneously being placed into another lockdown.

A positive Covid-19 test for Christopher Jullien then forced 13 players and three staff members, including Neil Lennon, into self-isolation. They missed the club's draw with Hibs earlier this week which left Celtic 21 points behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership.

In response to criticism of the club being arrogant in light of the trip, Lawwell added that he thought such claims were “unfair” and cited the club’s wider response to the pandemic.

HeraldScotland:

“This club operates on the values and standards we have in terms of integrity, respect and humility.

“Again, looking at the pandemic, I think it’s fair to say that we have done an awful lot as a club, and the attitude we have had to it I think has been responsible in terms of our record and how we have protected our people and players, how we have really been at the forefront of getting Scottish football back to training and playing, and of course, through our foundation. We have donated over £1m to the people who are worst affected by this horrendous pandemic.

“These traditions and values and standards of the club have been developed over the years, and we haven’t compromised on them.

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“So, I think it’s unfair, and I’d like to reassure our supporters that the club that they believe they have is here.

“We have made a mistake, and we apologise for that, but the club that they would like to have, and have had, is here."

Concluding, the chief executive said the club had been affected "more than any" by the pandemic and that they would “keep fighting” in the coming months to maximise its potential as they chase their 10th straight league title.