CELTIC chairman Ian Bankier has blamed the Scottish Government for setting in motion the chain of events that ultimately led to the club losing out on their bid to win a tenth successive title last season.

Bankier, speaking to shareholders at the Celtic AGM, said that the club were treated ‘astonishingly’ by the government over Boli Bolingoli’s breach of Covid-19 restrictions last year, with their next two fixtures being postponed.

Aberdeen also had three games postponed after their own players breached regulations, but Bankier believes it was the punishment meted out to Celtic that caused them to lose momentum in the title race.

When asked if he felt Celtic had been treated fairly by the Scottish Government at the time, Bankier replied: “Oh I’m in. I’m in no doubt that we had the worst rub of the green that you could possibly imagine.

“You couldn’t have written it down on a piece of paper the number of things that went wrong.

“I think we were astonishingly treated by the Scottish Government. We were the only employer in Scotland to be given sanctions for an employee breaching rules.

“That was the start of the downward slide, or the loss of momentum early last season, where we and Aberdeen were banned from playing for two games. It stopped the momentum.

“We also had an undue course of luck in terms of injuries through international breaks. We had James Forrest out, we had a lot of things go wrong. ‘What’s going to go wrong next? It almost was.

“It was terrible, absolutely terrible, but I’m not shying away from the fact that there were other aspects of the season where we just might have done a bit better, but we didn’t do.

“But yeah, I’m absolutely a supporter on that.”

When pressed on what the Celtic board did about it at the time, Bankier said: “Well, if the First Minister of Scotland stands up and says I want a red card or a yellow card to be shown to Celtic Football Club, what is it you do? Do you take them on?”

To which the Celtic supporters present cried; “Yes!”

“We made our views really clear to the Scottish FA, which is our conduit for communication,” continued Bankier.

“If you go toe-to-toe with an organisation with the scale, breadth and power of a government, you will almost certainly make things a lot worse, therefore we chose not to do that.

“We had to get back to playing our games.”