Celtic’s trip to Dubai is important in more ways than one.
First it is a reward for our players to get away for a while. The schedule they’ve faced has been punishing; some think – myself included – that it was intended to be ruinous.
That we remain unbeaten, domestically, is a triumph of determination as well as skill.
These guys deserve this.
It also gave them a chance to get somewhere good and warm for some lighter training.
That, too, is good for them. Glasgow in winter ain’t no joke; a little workout in the heat of Dubai will help re-energise weary bones better than running laps at Lennoxtown. They will come back refreshed and ready to make the second half of the campaign even more memorable.
But third is that this is good for morale and for team building, for getting people together and helping to cement good relations.
I’m sure there is no truth to suggestions that Sevco balked at doing the same only partly because of the costs, but to do with relations in their dressing room being at such an all-time low that a trip like this could have ended in fist-fights at poolside.
A few weeks ago, when Kris Commons left for Hibs, his good lady Lisa Hague sent out a fantastic tweet to the families of our players, in particular those who’d only recently joined. She entreated them to get involved, to make immerse themselves in the club and the culture, to open their hearts to it in the knowledge that so many of us would do the same to them.
This was reminiscent of the advice Tommy Burns used to give new signings. He knew the value of those people getting involved and meeting the fans and becoming part of the Family. It’s been a long time since we saw someone with that mind-set at the helm, but it’s pretty clear that Brendan Rodgers is just such a man.
According to E-Tims, the families are all flying out to Dubai too.
As they’ve said, this takes team building to a whole other level. This is the kind of thing Tommy might have wanted to do but would never have gotten the funds to pull together. The story says Brendan is chipping in so as not to annoy the bean counters too much, but there appears to be little aggravation around Celtic Park at this moment in time.
It has to be said that I can’t find confirmation of this story anywhere but it sits right with how things are going at Celtic Park at the current time. The whole atmosphere there is wonderful, there is real togetherness again. It’s a special time.
Something major is going on at our club.
Something is being put in place to last many years.
Brendan and his assistant – the hugely impressive Chris Davies – have given a lot of important interviews in the last few days, laying out their future plans. It all sounds incredible It don’t sound to me like these guys are here just to get something good on the CV’s. They can, if you’ll pardon the expression (and forget its author) people who feel the hand of history on their shoulders. This is a long term plan and it is stuff like this that will keep this team focussed on the goals of winning the title and delivering the treble.
Beyond that, it will be attractive to any player coming … and a disincentive to anyone who might be tempted to leave.
All the news at Celtic Park is good right now.
What a time to be a part of this Family.