Pre-season can be an utter waste for a club like Celtic. It can be an utter waste when it’s being used simply to get players fit, or build confidence running up cricket scores against mediocre teams. Celtic has opted to ignore both options this summer.
We’ve gone for tough encounters against sides capable of giving us a game. Tonight it’s the turn of Banik Ostrava. This will give us a proper test, and we’ll need to defend better than we did against Rapid Vienna. But the team is another game further on in their preparation, and it will be very interesting to see how we line up.
There are some players we’ve not seen much of, and it will be good to see them play. There are others who really need to grab this one by the throat.
The starting line-up is interesting. We have Taylor in the starting line-up and Kyogo is in up front. Forrest and Jota are on the wing. The midfield is not quite what you’d expect … O’Riley and Turnbull are both in the side. Juranovic is back and starts.
Obviously we’re all dying to see how Kyogo does today. It’s great that he is starting. From the way he played against Rapid, you can tell he’s hungry and raring to go. This will be a good test for him. Teams now expect him to perform and mark him accordingly; we’ll see if that has any impact!
I am looking forward to this one tonight. The boss opted to give us tough matches, and difficult opponents who would not simply roll over for us. This is how you build a team for competing on all fronts; make every game a battle.
By the time the real business starts, at the end of the month, we’ll be ready.
Celtic XI: Hart, Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Welsh, Taylor, McGregor, O’Riley, Turnbull, Forrest, Jota, Kyogo.
Subs: Bain, Siegrist, Oluwayemi, Jullien, Giakoumakis, Ajeti, Abada, McCarthy, Johnston, Ideguchi, Kenny, Bernabei, Urghoghide, Lawal, Ralston, Vata.