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  • Manager looking forward to Celtic Park return on Saturday

    Manager looking forward to Celtic Park return on Saturday

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 12 Jul, 2018 17:41

  • BRENDAN Rodgers’ side will be in action at Celtic Park for the first time this season when they take on Standard Liege in a pre-season friendly on Saturday (KO: 3pm).

    It’s a game that the Hoops are looking forward to, and it forms a key part of their preparations for the season ahead, which has already started with the midweek UEFA Champions League qualifier against Alashkert.

    The 3-0 victory in the heat of Armenia has put the Scottish champions in control of the tie ahead of the second leg on Wednesday night, and the Celtic manager was delighted with the performance and result.

    While the target is to progress to the next round of the competition, the healthy first leg lead may allow the manager to give some valuable game-time to other members of his squad.

    Speaking at Lennoxtown today, when he was also able to welcome Tom Rogic and Cristian Gamboa back into the fold following their World Cup exertions, the Celtic manager said: “We have qualification games and friendly games, and we’re trying to give as many players as much game-time as we possibly can.

    “The 3-0 win puts us in a really strong position. I was impressed by the players’ mentality and their physical fitness to play a game a week earlier than we did last year.

    “What happens in football at this time of the season is that, once you tire, your technique goes. When you’re playing in those conditions, to retain that level of fitness in the last 10 minute and score two goals really show the level the players are at and how keen they are to get stronger and even fitter. So it was a good lead for us, although we still have to finish the job in the second leg.”

    For Saturday’s friendly match against Standard Liege, the manager explained that he will field a different starting XI for each half, also confirming that, while Marvin Compper has returned to training, it will be another couple of weeks before Leigh Griffiths and Jonny Hayes return.

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