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Mr Green Aug 2018
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  • Dubai Diary: Sunshine Celts working hard for a return to action

    Dubai Diary: Sunshine Celts working hard for a return to action

    By: Laith Al Naeme in Dubai on 13 Jan, 2018 16:18

  • As-salamu alaykum! I’m writing this update as the sun sets at the wonderful Dubai Marina, just around the corner from the team hotel where the Scottish-treble winners have been spending their winter break this past week.

    It’s safe to say the trip to the UAE has been another huge success, and if it can have the same impact as last year’s camp did, then we are in for a special second half of the season.

    All of the main objectives have been accomplished so far this season - one trophy in the bag, top of the league and of course, European football secured after Christmas.

    The timing of the training camp really couldn't have come at a better time. Due to exceedingly high temperatures, Dubai is a city that many struggle to visit in the summer. In January, however, the weather conditions are absolutely perfect.

    The manager has spoken before of the benefits that the break brings, and being out here with the Bhoys gives you a real understanding of that. The Celts have been based at the same hotel and training centre that they came to last year. This speaks volumes for the hospitality and facilities the environment has in store.

    All the staff members have been very accommodating, and despite trying my best to show off my Arabic-speaking skills, the diversity the city possesses is pretty incredible. I’ve met more English speakers than Arab!

    Despite coming to one of the top holiday destinations the world has to offer, the trip has consisted of a lot of hard work for the Celtic squad. The training intensity on a daily basis has been remarkable. In the blistering heat, the Hoops started the week off with a yo-yo test and were speed-tested just two days later. Not the easiest when it’s around 24 degrees!

    Don’t worry, though, that’s nothing to Olivier Ntcham. The Frenchman has been wearing full body under armour all week. I’ve been sweating just watching him train! Literally!

    Overall, though, the coaching staff have been absolutely delighted with the work the players have put in, praising the high standard the Bhoys have set.

    Another bonus from Celtic’s camp was Patrick Roberts’ return to the training field. Although not joining in with the rest of the team, Paddy has been out running every session and I caught up with him a few days ago to see how he’s doing on his road to recovery. You can catch that full interview on Celtic TV.

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    After training, the trip has been a great opportunity for the Hoops players to reconnect and bond - as well as topping up their tans at Jumeirah Beach!

    Marvin Compper mentioned to me before I interviewed him that he felt he’s known the players for a lot longer than two weeks. The German defender, who signed from Leipzig, this month has already gelled superbly with his new team-mates.

    On a personal note, it’s been another fantastic trip away with the Champions. I’ve been flying solo as the only club media representative and I hope you enjoyed my coverage on all our media platforms.

    There is plenty of content available - interviews with the manager, captain Scott Brown, Marvin Compper, Patrick Roberts, Dedryck Boyata and training footage of outfielders and goalkeepers are available on Celtic TV.

    Attention now turns to Brechin City, a week today, as we start out on the road to Hampden with the ultimate aim of completing back-to-back trebles. What an achievement that would be!

    It’s 6pm on a Saturday night as I finish typing up this diary. Kieran Tierney has signed up to do a Twitter Q&A, so I’m heading back to the hotel to meet him. Saturday night in Dubai and KT’s wanting a bit of banter with the fans. He really is something else. Mr Celtic!

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