Celtic look to be preparing for a French trip for preseason games ahead of Champions League qualifiers at the start of the Scottish season.
It’s important to build fitness and match sharpness, but also to experience playing behind closed doors. And it may see Moussa Dembele in an opposition shirt against the Hoops. For these reasons Celtic look set to get some preseason action in France.
It’s not going to be easy to find suitable opponents and venues with so many leagues at different positions in terms of closing out last season. English clubs are largely out as an option for friendlies relatively near by as they are now back playing out their season.
Neil Lennon confirmed in the Daily Record that playing French teams is an option:
“We may look at some Dutch teams or French teams and get some quality friendlies”.
The paper said Celtic talks with PSG were well underway to organise a friendly, while it can still be classed as a glamour friendly, it’s likely to be quieter than usual being most likely to play out behind closed doors.
With air bridges between the UK and France being established and reciprocal travel arrangements reducing the need for isolation before or after trips, a game in France looks much more feasible. If a series of opponents can be set up, all the better, it’d be effective warm-up matches and arranged efficiently. Celtic’s French contingent would love those games and a return to playing there, even if not to many local supporters.
Neil also helped back some other rumours of a small tournament in France:
“We may have an opportunity to play in a mini-tournament, that’s another avenue we are pursuing as well.”
That tied in with reports in France that Celtic have accepted an invitation for a four-team Tournoi de Lyon next month.
Videocelts carry the story so far that according to a French based Twitter account, Celtic and Nice have accepted invitations to take part. Apparently Olympique Lyonnais as organisers have seen both Celtic and Nice confirm but Rennes have declined to be the 4th club and there’s no mention of PSG in this, not yet anyway.
Perhaps mischievously the Daily Record have today speculated that the Rangers may also be in talks to join the tournament. There is also talk of up to 5,000 tickets being available for fans. You’d have to wonder if there is any realism and practical thought involved in both clubs being involved. It doesn’t sound like an ideal warm up match for anyone and the prospect of distancing fans, socially or otherwise would be chaotic.
But that aside, let’s not forget the current Celtic inclusion plan would mean the Hops facing Moussa Dembele up front for Lyon. An interesting tie if it does come off.
We’ll have to see which rumours work out in reality, but there is some logic, sense and excitement about most of these, with the prospect of some quality opposition and then some madness about the Rangers aspect.