CHRIS SUTTON has revealed what sort of treatment bungling Boli Bolingoli could have expected in the Celtic dressing room of his era.
The Belgian defender hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week when he was exposed following a secret trip to Spain without consent of anyone at Parkhead.
Bolingoli ignored the government’s strict 14-day quarantine when he returned from his jaunt to Malaga, trained with the Hoops first team and made a cameo appearance in the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Sunday.
Then his hush-hush journey to a high-risk country was disclosed and his career at the champions hit the buffers in fairly spectacular style, despite still having three years to run on a lucrative contract after signing from Vienna Rapid in a £3million deal last summer.
Neil Lennon stressed the situation had upset many of the player’s colleagues who could have put at risk during the coronavirus pandemic due to the inexplicable action of their selfish team-mate.
One-time Hoops hitman Sutton, speaking in the Daily Record, said: “Boli Bolingoli behaved like an idiot. That’s not up for debate.
“I had to smile when Neil Lennon said he might struggle to get back into the dressing room. Struggle?
“If it’s like the dressing room we shared at Celtic, Bolingoli would have been lucky to get out of it in one piece when the news of his stupid Spain jolly broke, never mind back into it.”
Sutton continued: “Bolingoli’s indiscretion was disgraceful. What he did was indefensible. It was a blatant lack of respect for everyone. The Aberdeen boys were guilty more of a bit of bad judgement.
“We all know there are plenty of people in the UK who are doing exactly the same as the Dons guys did. There are loads of people being caught breaking the rules and they are getting a slap on the wrist or a warning. Maybe even a small fine.
“I’m hearing discussions about players having to do community service if they are caught breaking the rules. Community service? That’s a term linked to people who could be sent to jail. It’s preposterous.
“Of course, it’s all too late. If they had put the correct measures in place to start with we’d not have had these recent issues.
“If the punishments had been a fine of six weeks’ wages and a six-game ban for any player, I’d bet we wouldn’t have any rules breaks.
“But now, as usual, it’s about authorities being reactive instead of proactive.”
Sutton added: “Players will feel they simply can’t go out to restaurants or cafes any more.
“It annoys me that these lads feel they can’t go over the door now when boys and girls around Scotland can go out with three of their mates for a latte or a pizza.
“Sturgeon said she’s asking members of the public to make huge sacrifices in how they live their lives and how she can’t have privileged football players just deciding they’re not going to bother.
“The First Minister gave out chat about yellow cards, how the next incident will be a red and football could be shut down.
“But when her Chief Medical Officer was caught breaking the rules at her holiday home in Fife I don’t recall any talk of Holyrood being shut down.
“In fact, if I recall correctly, Sturgeon initially chose to keep Catherine Calderwood in her job until the sheer weight of public pressure forced that situation to change.
“Let me make this clear. I’m not defending Bolingoli or anyone who flouts the rules with such blatant disregard.
“I’m also not saying the Aberdeen boys didn’t do anything wrong in the current climate. But some of the talk is over the score. Footballers are easy targets.
“It was the same at the beginning when people were demanding they take pay cuts and make donations to charities as well as the NHS. This when TV, film and music stars weren’t even getting a mention and some were laying off staff.
“These lads are like prisoners now. They won’t even be able to go to the garage for petrol without some vigilante holding a mobile phone and trying to take their picture to get them into trouble.
“If you think being allowed to go to your work and do your job means you’re privileged, then that makes every working man and woman in the country going to their graft every morning privileged at the moment.
“But do you think a milkman, a mechanic or a plumber who breaches Covid-19 rules is going to get community service or singled out for a personalised lecture from government?
“No, nor me. So, why should footballers be any different?”