Rogic, Arzani allowed home by Celtic as shutdown lingers


Celtic’s Socceroos duo Tom Rogic and Daniel Arzani have returned home to Australia after being handed leave passes by the club amid Scottish football’s indefinite shutdown due to the coronavirus contagion.

The pair were on the same flight from Glasgow, cleared to depart by the Hoops hierarchy with Celtic’s Lennoxtown base set to go into lockdown and training curtailed, if not abandoned altogether.

They will be subject to two-weeks of self-quarantine, as per Australian federal government edicts, and initially train alone in the expectation they will be recalled to Scotland at some point.

The timing of that, however, is not guaranteed, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison advising Australians against overseas travel.

The Scottish Premier League doesn’t have a re-start date as yet, but if the pandemic can be contained it’s hoped the season can be completed by June 30.

A source close to Arzani insisted that his homecoming did not signal a premature end to his two-season loan at Parkhead, where an ACL rupture on debut 16 months ago has limited him to just two substitute appearances.

Widely acknowledged as Australia’s most gifted young prospect, the 21-year-old remains contracted with the Bhoys until June.

Beyond that, the former Melbourne City magician appears destined to return to parent club Manchester City, with a possible loan, or sale, to a club on the European continent being discussed.

Meanwhile, it’s believed Rogic has returned to his hometown of Canberra, whilst Arzani will remain in Sydney where he will reach out to the Socceroos’ support staff to work on honing his fitness.

The cessation of action was particularly untimely for Rogic, who had just forced his way back into coach Neil Lennon’s starting line-up after spending much of the season out of favour.

He started in Celtic’s last match - the 5-0 victory over St Mirren on March 7.

The champions-elect have three league games left - including the Old Firm derby against Rangers - and a Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen.

But the possibility of the entire season being scrapped remains very real.

Both Rogic and Arzani will be on standby to return to Glasgow at the behest of the league leaders - currently 13 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Training was scheduled to resume for the entire Celtic squad on Thursday after a brief break, but that now appears in question.

Socceroos high performance co-ordinator Andrew Clark said national team chiefs were “fact finding” on Australian players across the globe and offering support “however that might be”.

“Whether it’s from remote programming, to support from FFA at a safety level, or the PFA, we’re there to help in any way we can,” he said.

“I’ve got a list of players I’m liaising with.”