Scott Brown has defended the actions of Neil Lennon and his first-team Celtic squad.

The Hoops were forced to play a second-string side against Hibernian on Monday after defender Christopher Jullien tested positive for Covid-19 following their return from a training camp in Dubai.

As well as Lennon and his assistant John Kennedy, 13 players have been forced to go into self-isolation which has given arch rivals Rangers an even bigger advantage in the Scottish Premiership.

To make matters worse, a photograph of Brown and Lennon in which they appear to be drinking beer while lounging pool side has brought up further questions over their conduct.

Celtic captain Scott Brown has hit back at recent criticism of their trip to Dubai
Celtic captain Scott Brown has hit back at recent criticism of their trip to Dubai

"Everyone is going to question everything - that’s the modern-day era. Everyone has a say in everything we do these days,” Brown has responded via The Glasgow Times.

“We got the okay from the government and we made sure we followed the guidelines from there. We went out and worked hard on training - that’s what the whole thing was for us.

“People don’t see our training daily or see how hard we worked. Sometimes you’re allowed to sit on the sunbeds and have some down-time as well.

“What we do away from the cameras in training is for us to benefit in games.

Neil Lennon's Celtic are 21 points behind Rangers but do have three games in hand
Neil Lennon's Celtic are 21 points behind Rangers but do have three games in hand

"As you’ve seen in the last three or four seasons, we’ve come back from Dubai and done really well because we work extremely hard.

“It’s all about the preparation for the next five or six months of the season.

"The manager’s philosophy, which he puts on to us, is how we can work in different ways and different shapes.

“We worked on that all week and that’s what Dubai has been for us in the last three or four seasons now.”

Rangers look almost certain to win their first top-flight title since 2011
Rangers look almost certain to win their first top-flight title since 2011

The club have also insisted that they followed the same protocols as their pre-season training camps, Uefa match travel and for domestic matches in Scotland, and added: “These protocols have served us well in the past, as the club has not had one positive case in our own ‘bubble’ until now.

“As we have already stated, Celtic’s decision to travel to Dubai for a training camp was for performance reasons.

“Whilst we were in Dubai, the announcements made on January 4 significantly changed the Covid landscape.

“The reality is that a case could well have occurred had the team remained in Scotland, as other cases have done in Scottish football and across UK sport in the past week.”