Celtic are set to participate in a pre-season tournamnet in France that will be one to watch as they are set to face NIce and Lyon.
Celtic are yet to confirm details at their end officially, but with other clubs publishing their information and new coach Gavin Strachan offering his views on a French trip, it’s all falling into place.
The Daily Record reported on Olympique Lyonnaise boss Rudi Garcia confirming a pre-season tournament hosted by his club. Garcia talked about the difficulty to find quality opposition as preparation. Coronavirus impacts on available clubs and travel have made this a much harder task than normal.
The Lyon tournament will run over 16 and 18 July and involve his club Lyon, Celtic, Nice and Rangers. Teams won’t play other clubs from their own country. So Celtic will only play games against quality opposition, facing up to both Lyon and Nice. Which of course means playing against Moussa Dembele.
Alongside that tournament, Celtic are due to play PSG in Paris a few days later on 22 July. Now that too sounds like quality opposition and with all three matches the club are certainly stepping up ahead of the new season and European qualifiers. Even as friendlies they’ll be excellent for match practice and to get more used to playing in quieter stadiums with less atmosphere. Though many Hoops fans would nod and wink knowingly at the fact they’ve seen their team play away at both Arsenal and Man City!
Gavin Strachan, Celtic’s new first team coach talking in the Glasgow Times saw the trip to France and the games as ideal preparation. As much as anything Strachan saw real benefit in getting the squad together and continuing to grow the team spirit.
“The way the world is now, and with everyone so isolated for so long, any chance to get people together and spend quality time together, is something that we’re all looking forward to. We’re lucky that we’re able to do that.”
“I’ve already seen a great spirit amongst the players already so to go away and cement that even more, ahead of what’s going to be an important season, is something that we feel is important”
“For the players it’ll help them mentally after everything that’s been going on in the world. It’ll be good for the camaraderie and the bonding after everyone has been isolated for so long.”
“It’ll be good for everyone’s mental health as much as anything.”
And who knows what these fixtures will mean in terms of players. There’s a great chance for Edouard to shine on his home territory, if he’s looking too good maybe Lennon needs to sub him and use Leigh Griffiths or Patryk Klimala. Perhaps we’ll see some other players get a chance to shine too, and who knows who we’ll have in goal, could it still be Fraser Forster by then?
Whatever the answers, Celtic fans now have lots more dates for diaries of team action and matches.