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Celtic assistant John Kennedy defends Dubai pool pictures and explains reasoning for trip

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Celtic assistant John Kennedy has opened up on the Hoops’ Dubai training camp and explained images which appeared on social media. 

Photos emerged of some Parkhead stars and management relaxing by a swimming pool drinking beer and they were heavily criticised by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Ms Sturgeon questioned the purpose of the Parkhead club’s trip and also felt that some photographs she had seen from the Hoops’ training camp suggested the squad may not be complying with social-distancing guidelines.

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But Celtic No2 Kennedy today hit back during his press conference ahead of Monday’s Scottish Premiership clash against Hibs.

He said: “I’ve seen the photos going round from maybe local people or people who are on holiday and it paints a picture which is probably a bit false.

“The whole week we had a lot of work to put into the trip itself. We had a lot of people who spent a lot of time and effort travelling out there before we arrived to ensure everything was ready for us.

“The hotel worked very hard with us in terms of giving us our own areas. We had our own unique places, our own meeting groups, we pretty much left through our own entrance and exits.

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“At no point did we really have to go intop the main building. We were kept aside and that was just to try and follow protocols.

“We went through them before we got there we took advice from the usual advisors to make sure we were following all the protocols we had to.

“That allowed us to train well in terms of the facilities, the work we got done out there, we couldn’t have got done here and that has been the same in the past.

“To give ourselves the best opportunity in the second half of the season and it has always worked for us in the past so here’s hoping that can be the same for us.”

He continued: “There have been slip ups with minor things which we know if you get a snapshot you can criticise and jump on it.

“We speak to the players as much as we possibly can to remind them of the protocols they must adhere to.

“Everyone wants football to continue we want to abide by all the rules and any error in that we try to fix it.

“The picture maybe create a bleak picture but we have to move on from that. The government and SFA have said there isn’t really a case to answer for.

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“We have submitted what we needed to and they are content with that so we just have to concentrate on moving forward now.

“There has been contact asking the question about when we were over there. But we have submitted all what we have done everyday.

“The protocols we put in place while we were there to mitigate any sort of risk and they seem quite content with that so we just have to move forward.”

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