Celtic have announced a series of pre-season friendly matches as Ronny Deila looks to change usual Celtic’s pre-season schedule ahead of the Champions League qualifiers.
As CQN Magazine revealed several months ago Ronny wants his team to stay at home rather than get involved in extensive traveling for meaningless friendlies which Deila, who has just celebrated his first anniversary as Celtic manager, believes not to be the best way to prepare for the challenges of Champions League qualification.
With the usual summer maintenance work taking place at Celtic Park – something that happens every year at all well run stadiums, season groundworks, the 3 friendly matches will take place at St. Mirren Park in Paisley. Celtic have lined up 3 sides that will provide good quality opposition and stand the squad in good stead for the European action ahead.
Dutch side Den Bosch will Celtic’s first opponents on Wednesday 1st July while Czech giants Dukla Prague on arrive for the match on Saturday 4th Jul. This is of course a re-run of Celtic’s famous 1967 European Cup semi final so we’ll have to have a word with Lisbon Lion Willie Wallace about this match and his memories of the 1967 game in which he scored two goals that effectively took Celtic to Lisbon. Celtic’s third opponents at St Mirren Park will be Real Sociedad and this game will take place on Friday 10th July. Real Sociedad are managed by former Celtic defender Davie Moyes, who has recently been linked with the West Ham job.
Moyes was a substitute for Celtic when the club lost to the Basque side in the 1982 European Cup.
Celtic will make one trip and it is to the Basque country – as we revealed a few weeks ago. Eibar will host the Bhoys in our only away friendly of the summer on Saturday, 18th July. Celtic tops are not unfamiliar in the crowd at Eibar matches and this looks like a great wee summer trip!
Celtic are then back home at Celtic Park on Saturday 25th July to host French side Rennes to round off the pre-season schedule. Celtic last the Brittany side in the UEFA Europa League in 2011. It has been recently reported that Rennes are considering remaining their stadium ‘Celtic Park’.
Meanwhile the latest summer transfer rumour suggests that Celtic are considering a move for Norwegian side Viking FK’s 21 year old striker Veton Berisha. His contract is about to expire and he will therefore be available on a free.