Celtic coronavirus: St Johnstone, Hamilton hit back at Neil Lennon protocol claims

Celtic boss Neil Lennon claimed his side were 'cramped like sardines' at Hamilton in December; St Johnstone and Hamilton refute claims made about social distancing protocols not put in place sufficiently at grounds; Second Celtic player tests positive for Covid after Dubai trip

St Johnstone
Image: St Johnstone have refuted claims made by Celtic manager Neil Lennon

St Johnstone and Hamilton have said they are disappointed in claims made by Celtic manager Neil Lennon that their grounds do not satisfy social distancing protocols.

Lennon claimed there were inconsistencies among Covid-19 protocols among Scottish Premiership clubs, after Celtic were heavily criticised for travelling to Dubai for a training camp.

It was confirmed a second Celtic player tested positive for coronavirus following the trip, after Christopher Julien had already tested positive for the virus - with Lennon, assistant John Kennedy and 13 players having to self-isolate.

Lennon apologised to the club's fans in a press conference on Monday, but also claimed his side have been at top-flight grounds where social distancing was not possible.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon arrives for Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow 2:02
Neil Lennon has hit out at sections of the media and the Scottish government over the criticism the club received for their trip to Dubai

Lennon said: "We have been going to away grounds where we are cramped in like sardines. Boxing Day at Hamilton there was no social distancing there, there was no physical distancing. It is inconsistent. Protocols of different clubs are inconsistent. We go to St Johnstone all crammed into a little dressing room. Inconsistent."

St Johnstone released a statement expressing their disappointment in Lennon's claims and said they as a club have followed all protocols advised.

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The statement read: "St. Johnstone Football Club is extremely disappointed with the completely inaccurate and unfounded comments about our facilities made yesterday by Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, in a media conference.

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"We provide one of the largest away team changing areas in the league. Every team, including Celtic, is also provided with a large area for team meetings.

"We follow all protocols and guidance to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and officials.

"When Celtic visited McDiarmid Park on October 4 for an SPFL Premiership match, we made sure their every request and requirement was met. Celtic viewed all of our facilities before the game and no issues were raised. No issues were raised with us after the game.

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"All during this challenging period of the past nine months, our club has maintained adherence to the highest of standards. Indeed, the SPFL delegates have commended us on our work during this campaign."

Hamilton also responded to Lennon's claims - Celtic won 3-0 at Hamilton on Boxing Day.

"It is not our policy to comment on statements made by other clubs.

"We are content that we meet the most stringent standards of Covid protocols for all people visiting our stadium."

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