General manager Peter Lawwell admitted Celtic’s controversial decision to go to Dubai was “a mistake” and apologized to fans.
Celtic had confirmed Christopher Jullien tested positive, but all others and staff were negative after being screened after returning to Scotland last Friday.
However, 13 other players, manager Neil Lennon and assistant John Kennedy were seen as close contacts and had to join the French defender in isolation.
Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon questioned whether the trip was essential and revealed doubts “on the basis of some photos I saw whether the compliance with the bubble rules was strict enough”.
Celtic fans themselves were leading the widespread criticism and amid fury it was a makeshift team that drew 1-1 at home with Hibernian on Monday night.
Speaking in an internal interview on the club’s official website, Lawwell addressed the issue and said: “These few days have been extremely difficult and after reflection, looking back and in hindsight and looking at the outcome of the trip was clearly a mistake and for that, I deeply apologize to our supporters.
“The rationale for the camp was largely with the best of intentions. Things did not go the way we wanted and the result is clearly very unfortunate. “
The draw against Hibs did little to improve fans’ mood as it left them 21 points behind Rangers atop the Scottish Premiership with three games in hand and their candidacy for 10 in a row threatened.
Lawwell developed the thinking behind the overseas midseason break. He said: “If you look back over the past four years going to Camp Dubai has been extremely successful.
“What we planned to do was bring them back to these world-class facilities, after a very hectic schedule in November and December that has proven in the past to be a big performance advantage after January, to arrive at this level of performance again.
“Regarding the facts surrounding the trip, we decided in November to go and were allowed to go.
“It’s clear that the landscape has changed dramatically, especially as we approach Dubai, especially the rate of infection and the like.
“Overall the decision to leave was for the right reasons, for performance and of course in the end the result was really disappointing.”
Lawwell was asked about accusations of arrogance and questioning of the club’s values. He said, “I don’t see it, I don’t agree with it and I think it’s actually unfair.”