The Talismanic Trip and the Holy Grail


Celtic’s world has changed greatly since that moment during the first half at Ibrox on 2 January, with the team well on top, the commentator mentioned they were off to Dubai after the game.  Celtic’s dominance did not produce a goal and the game was lost.  In the days that followed, a second lockdown was announced, Dubai’s status in the Green Corridor was rescinded, Christopher Jullien became infected and 13 players were forced to isolate.  The dominoes continued to fall with Hibs added-time equalise, while we await the outcome against Livingston.

We knew Celtic were off to Dubai for weeks before the post-match flight.  Personally, I did not bat an eyelid at the prospect.  Very few of us did, remarkably so, considering the angst expressed post-defeat, post First Minister’s “I don’t know, but…” innuendo.  After event-ism is often fertile.

I have always thought it is the manager’s job to ask for what is in the interests of the football department irrespective of wider consequence.  Of course Neil wanted to go to Dubai, last season’s trip is seen as crucial to winning the title.  Similarly, it is Peter Lawwell’s job to ensure that what the football department gets is only what is in the best interests of the club, and on occasion, wider society.

A public apology from Peter is a rare thing, so we can be sure where responsibility lies on this matter.  He should have said “No”, but like so much of what has gone wrong recently, wider considerations were set aside in pursuit of the Holy Grail.

With Celtic playing well and the title still in their own hands, Peter was never going to stop the Talismanic Trip, not this season, anyway.  Would I have said “No”?  Would you?  It is an easy question to answer on 14 January.  Reality is, I am as confilcted by pursuit of the Holy Grail as much as anyone.  I know I would cross lines that would normally be observed, so would we all.  Maybe this would have been one, who knows?

Leadership involves making difficult calls and apologising when you miss them.  This is not Peter’s first mistake and despite the political grandstanding it permitted, it is not remotely his most onerous.  History may regard blind pursuit of the Holy Grail as more consequential.

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  1. BORGO67 ! Sorry for your loss ! DAVID 66 , sorry for the loss of Tony, , I know myself took a bit of comfort from CQN, recently!




    Tests are usually a little unreliable between the first day and the fourth day after a potential exposure. Four to seven days is the optimal time to get tested if you’re still asymptomatic. That should be enough to flag any problems which may be on the way.

  3. NOTTHEBUS on 14TH JANUARY 2021 12:27 PM


    ‘I cant think of any circumstances where a long haul winter training camp would have been appropriate in the midst of a pandemic.’







    Well there’s two aspects, isn’t there?



    There’s the actual increased risk of acquiring the infection through the travel involved and the level of exposure that involves, which would have to be balanced against the reduced risk of the players being in a closed bubble while they were there, compared to the interaction they would have with their families and others while at home. I’m not sure what that risk assessment would look like, or how accurate it could ever be, given the unknown factors.



    And then there’s the optics of how it looks to the general public, which is largely a matter of how it is presented and the preconceptions of the audience (which in Scoddland were always both going to be overwhelmingly negative and hostile).

  4. jimbob71 & little Miss jimbob on

    Ernie, James






    I was just wondering about some comments about Chris Jullien, if it was possible he caught Covid before he flew.


    I said last week, my mother in law flew to Dubai before Christmas to visit her other daughter who had been paid off months previous (we weren’t in the slightest happy about it but…. ) On landing in Dubai she had to take a covid test before leaving the airport and stay in the house until she got results.



    I’m sure Dubai authorities would have done the same with Celtic, elite athletes from Scotland in a bubble or not.


    So Chris must have tested negative on landing in Dubai on 2nd January.

  5. MARTIM1980 on 14TH JANUARY 2021 10:57 AM


    Looking through Celtic news now for some time now. It started as a site giving voice to more local bloggers, vloggers etc and still does….to a degree, however, more and more now it appears to be full of msm. Also some of the Celtic sounding wee blogs are multi-faceted click bait machines resgistered in real company and media corps. You can also see who they sell your data to if you click (sometimes hundreds of groups).



    A quick scan now sees it’s open season on Celtic.



    Alot of that opinion and attack, which, it appears, is coming from (a non Celtic minded source- affore mentioned media groups- pr firms with links to MsM ) is appearing here, like it does on twitter, and projected as if it’s the Celtic’s supports’ united viewpoint. When it is not.



    Just an observation, and sure the majority take a pinch of salt from everything read online. (including this 😉)



    We have a great, eclectic support- could be argued it’s our strength. It’s shame to see the “supports’ opinion” projected as clear on here when it’s source was written by a msm group journo.



    Hail hail 🍀





    Shrewd post Martim.clicks count and make profit.its one of the reasons why the lie is half way around the world as truth starts out.


    Thanks for the post.





  6. Neil Lennon & McCartney on 14th January 2021 5:36 am


    A wee occasional late night share does no harm. 










    MadMitch on 14th January 2021 9:37 am



    Enjoyed reading your reply, well said. Good wee read for my morning coffee. 






    jamesgang on 14th January 2021 11:04 am



    HH good sir! 

  7. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    To paraphrase, ‘the motivation for the trip was well intended, it was a mistake and I apologise’.



    That’s essentially what he said. He can’t really do or say anything else as what’s done is done.



    Perhaps pursuit of the ‘holy grail’ has clouded judgement in certain areas, so with it now we’ll and truly gone, hopefully we can start planning for the future.



    I agree, by quite some way this is not Peter Lawell’s worst mistake/error of judgement. Unfortunately it was the decision to appoint Neil Lennon as manager on a permanent basis, an error compounded by the unwillingness to replace him when it became apparent that things were regressing at an alarming rate (pick your moment).



    This is when leadership was required and in this instance Peter Lawell was found lacking. He may have gotten away with it in any other ‘normal’ season, but not this one. It has cost us ‘the holy grail’ and I really don’t see him recovering from this.

  8. The Battered Bunnet on




    Yip, absolutely. The incubation period is one of the real challenges with this virus. It’s been estimated to be 6 days on average between exposure and symptom onset. Testing can’t pick up the infection until around 4 days after exposure, and 2 days before symptoms onset. During this day 4 to day 6 period they are infectious to others but are oblivious to it.



    You can see a good graphic of this here: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EiccBrPXcAUlMIu?format=jpg&name=4096×4096



    These are averages, but observations have shown it can be from 2 days to 21 days at the extreme ends.



    One upshot for football is that a player can be tested on the Thursday, get the negative test back on the Friday and play on the Saturday, at which point they’re now infectious.



    Another is that a player can be infected on the Thursday, test negative on the Friday, play on the Sunday, travel to (say) the France U21 camp on the Monday and test positive on arrival that night.



    Meanwhile a club team mate can train/play with him on the Saturday/Sunday, travel to the Israel camp on the Monday, test negative on arrival, play on the Tuesday and test positive on the Thursday.



    His team mate might then test positive in the following days, giving rise to a plausible belief that both players were infected ‘on international duty’, when in fact, it’s as/more likely that they were secondary infections from their club team mate the previous weekend.



    All entirely hypothetically, of course.




  9. Memorymitch



    After 18 years out — TB / Labour did not have the confidence to take it to the RW media / “Con” estanblishment.





    Did lots of good / major changes / social investment as long as the papers didn’t complain.



    Lie- stuck to Tory Budgets


    Lie- nationalized banking debt


    Lie- p f i


    Lie socially nothing done-



    Just admit it yours was the “party” and Tony was your prince Andrew.



    And he damaged labour


    A marketing exercise


    Who or what are they? They dont know!



    But please spare the redacted history



    Its nearly as much guff as your views on pl


    Populist guff

  10. People should not have been travelling overseas last summer and they still shouldn’t be. At one point last year 80% of Scottish Covid cases were linked to people who had gone to Spain on holiday. It was just arrogant to go to Dubai just now. As well as stupid.

  11. Neil the legend beaten into 5th by among others , wait for it Talk to me now and Financial Outcome. How appropriate

  12. TBB



    That’s a great illustration of the logical parameters, yet often unpredictable behaviour, of this bloody virus.



    HH jg

  13. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    As an aside, to the muppets calling for the CEO and manager’s head, why are you also shouting about new players?



    Have you ever stopped to think who is signing them?



    Would that be the same CEO and manager you want replaced?



    Jeez, talk about mob mentality and the madness of crowds.

  14. Guys can I say a big thank you to everyone on this wonderful blog.



    I know there are people worse off than our family is at this time, but it has been a hard time for us recently. My wife and her sister’s are still distraught with the loss of Andrea…..sorry I digress.



    That is why this place is of so much comfort, there is only so much talking to the wife I can do :). This is where we miss the pub and our friends.



    Anyhow thank you all so much again.



    D :)

  15. IF Dermot Desmond is happy that Peter Lawell being the C E O ,fine ,but he must take a back seat,appoint a director of football,and more important new coaches appointed, not M Oneil. or R Keane ,the sooner the better,and Dermot could do no worse than asking his son if he can be hands on up in Lennoxtown,Celtic Park, Barrowfield ,etc , and see for his own eyes if big changes are needed,

  16. jimbob71 & little Miss jimbob on




    Thanks very much for your reply. Your hypothetical(!) explanations show how difficult it is to try to control this virus.



    I had replied (1.27pm) to other posters who had answered me. My thoughts were on when Chris Jullien contracted covid.

  17. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM


    As the situation stands we might not even finish second this season. What is the record distance we have finished behind deadco? The CEO has no business signing players, that isn’t his job and is one of the reasons we are in the mess we are in. If Duffy leaves we will have NO central defenders to speak of other than kids and midfield converts. Try to look further than one second into the future. If we don’t have at least Champions League qualifiers next season, we will not be able to sign anyone of any note. If you still want Lennon and Lawell in charge good luck but be prepared for deadco to continue to dominate.




    Comments made through the eyes of a died in the wool Celtic fan.



    Under no circumstances was it the right thing to do. Even the warm weather training would be partially negated by 2 long haul flights in the space of a week,



    Bad decision from any angle

  19. Toaty trumper / Micro Marxist / Tiny Trot @ 1.38



    Usual dross — nothing new.



    TB — In power for 10 years.



    97 / 99 = Followed the projected budgets set out by Fag man KC.


    99 / 2007 = Largest peace time increase in public spending known to man.



    If you still hold your original opinion then you are either a knave or a fool.


    My thoughts — you are a knave of the highest order who cannot accept that shooting journalists is not the way to build a better future.



    Consequently shape up or ship out.

  20. My friends in Celtic,



    I have read that Celtic were the only major team on the continent to jet out for a winter break.


    If this is true ( I really don’t know ) and Celtic were up to speed with current affairs, surely alarm bells must have been deafening.






    PS : Celtic as a major tax payer in Scotland and a major generator of income are absolutely correct to utilise the furlough scheme.

  21. The Battered Bunnet on




    I used that graphic in a tweet at Christmas to point out that folk who got infected on Christmas Day would be at peak infectiousness on Hogmanay, but would likely be oblivious to the risk they posed to others.



    Nearly 200,000 folk saw it. It then got picked up by a PHE researcher down south and RTd by a few media folk and was seen by millions of folk. It was posted by an English council then copied round dozens of others.



    Then the Chief Med Officer of Ireland had his department recreate it with their own branding (removing the researcher’s accreditations btw) and that got 5,200 retweets, each probably worth 1000 views. I’ve seen it on threads in virtually every english speaking country in the world, and translated into other languages too.



    I took it as a great example of the behaviour of a virus, how it spreads and mutates :¬)



    Unfortunately, looking at the massive surge in infections over the Christmas/New Year period, damned few folk took any notice of it :¬(

  22. GM @ 1.43



    So we are currently in limbo — neither forward or back …


    So what happens next?



    We sit on our hands and wait for May?


    If PL is incapable of action then his wife should be phoning in sick for him.

  23. Very apt that we finally collapsed in Dubai.


    The place is polluted by poundland aristocrats so we would have fitted right in.

  24. AN TEARMANN on 14TH JANUARY 2021 1:38 PM




    But in the real world, the world that people have to live in, for all their manifest problems, Labour were still the best option available.

  25. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Good grief, did you read my post at 1.35? How can you infer from that I want ‘Lennon and Lawell in charge’?



    People on this site just make things up/put words in others’ mouths to suit their own views/agendas. Someone yesterday was foaming at the mouth about Peter Lawell saying Celtic had suffered more than most ‘FINACIALLY’. He said no such thing, but it was just another example of someone making it up to justify a rant.



    To your point, I think Welsh, Ajer, Bitton and El Hamed are enough to get second place. Save the money for the new manager.

  26. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  27. TBB



    | I took it as a great example of the behaviour of a virus, how it spreads and mutates :¬)”




  28. Hot Smoked/TBB @2.09



    Agreed. V droll.



    My London exile continues. In a few weeks it’ll be a year since I last saw my kids and my dad. In April, I’ll likely miss my son’s 16th birthday, which he’s likely to mark by overtaking me in height!



    I’ve lived by the ‘principles of the graph’ throughout and will continue to do so. And things like your graph (and inferior copies!!!) helped me persuade my father and sister take a lockdown approach to Christmas, rather than seeking a means to meet up within the rules.



    Keep on keeping on.



    HH jg

  29. glendalystonsils on

    MARKIEBHOY on 14TH JANUARY 2021 1:41 PM


    Neil the legend beaten into 5th by among others ,



    Hope that’s not an omen!