Celtic players returned to training on Monday (2nd July) and after finally securing Fraser Forster on a four year deal, and more new faces likely to be on the way in, also some of the old ones out, this is the time for the Bhoys to get their fitness levels back to a standard that is ready to defend their title against 11 eager SPL teams (most likely ALL from outside Glasgow) and attempt to qualify for the European Champions League.
The pre-season kicks off on the 10th of July, with a tour of Germany and it’s divisions, as the SPL champions take on FC Augsburg who finished 14th in the Bundesliga last season, then it is down to Bundesliga 2 to play Stuttgart Kickers on the 15th, before finishing up with a game against Liga 3 side Vfr Aalen. All these games have standing sections for travelling fans interested. The next game will be on the 21st in Amsterdam against Ajax, which should bring back some nice memories of the 2001 Champions League qualifier, in which Martin O’Neill’s side had a very welcomed shock 3-1 win. Then it is home to paradise where Celtic host Norwich on the 24th after the two clubs struck a friendship during Adam Drury’s testimonial, this will be a season book game and the first home match since the ‘Five Star’ Gary Hooper performance against Hearts on the final day of last season. August could prove a little tough as the 1st brings a European 3rd qualifier, then the league begins on the 4th with Celtic taking on Aberdeen, followed by the 2nd leg of the European tie on the 7th or 8th and finally a glamour tie in Philadelphia against the mighty Real Madrid on the 11th finishes Celtic’s pre-season.
Though the timing for the Madrid match could have been better, the revenue it will bring will be worth it, it also gives the Celtic fans ‘beyond the waves’ a chance to see their team live. So that’s the information on Celtic’s 2012-13 pre-season, all that is left to say is......’Here we go again’.