A NEW season, new aspirations and new players. Champions Celtic kicked off the 2019/20 campaign at Parkhead with a friendly encounter against Rennes on Saturday, July 13. Ironically, the Hoops were to meet up with the French Cup winners later in the season in the Europa League.

The game ended goalless, but it gave the supporters the opportunity of a first glimpse of new Bhoys such as £7milllion purchase Christopher Jullien, signed from Toulouse, at the heart of the rearguard in place of Dedryck Boyata who quit at the conclusion of his contract for Hertha Berlin, perennial strugglers in the Bundesliga.

There was also great interest in Republic of Ireland youth midfielder Luca Connell who had joined on a cut-price £300,000 fee from cash-strapped Bolton.

The Hoops fans didn’t realise it, but two of the players who started that bright, breezy afternoon – Scott Sinclair and Lewis Morgan – would be making some of their last appearances before leaving in the January transfer window. The English attacker agreed a switch to Championship outfit Preston while the Scotland international winger moved to David Beckham’s new MLS side Inter Miami.

The work-out was followed later in the month with Champions League qualifiers against FK Sarajevo, a 2-1 win, and Nomme Kalju, a runaway 5-0 success.

As ever, CQN‘s ace lensmen were there to cover the action. Here is the pick of the pics.

THE HUDDLE…and here we go again. The Celtic players go through their customary routine with a new campaign awaiting them.

NEW BHOY…Luca Connell took a bow at Parkhead after his switch from Bolton.

FRENCH CONNECTION…£7million centre-back Christopher Jullien puts the aerial pressure on Rennes.

HELLO – AND FAREWELL…Lewis Morgan makes one of his last starts for the Hoops before his January transfer.

ON THE RUN…Scott Sinclair shows the style that had made him a favourite with the fans for three years. But his time in the Hoops was drawing to a close.

MAKING HIS POINT…skipper Scott Brown is clearly unhappy with a Sarajevo opponent.

JOY BHOY…Ryan Christie celebrates a strike against the Bosnians.

PUSH OFF…Odsonne Edouard makes his presence felt.

HEAD BHOY…Kristoffer Ajer rises above friend and foe to power in the opener in the 5-0 stroll against Nomme Kalju.

WHOOPS IN THE HOOPS…Leigh Griffiths is over the top in his celebrations with goalscorer Ryan Christie.

I’M BACK…Leigh Griffiths makes his return in his favourite No.9 shirt.

I’M HAPPY…Leigh Griffiths shows his joy after his comeback goal.

TOMORROW: The best in words and pics for August.


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