Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager / coach, has recently steered his side to a 3-0 win over Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final. Now his plans include a tour of Australia to play three A-League teams. The recent win in the finals extends their record to 35, while Motherwell will continue with a 20 year wait to win another final.
Celtic are facing Central Cost Mariners on Saturday 2 July, 2011 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, followed by Perth Glory on Saturday 9 July, 2011 at nib Stadium, Perth, and then Melbourne Victory on Wednesday 13 July, 2011 at AAMI Park, Melbourne. It is not their first time visiting Australia. They have previous visited the Brisbane Roar in 2009, beating them convincingly 3-0.
"The players who went to Brisbane raved about the backing they received from the fans," Lennon told PerthNow, "I'm really excited as the cities we are visiting are full of Celtic fans. The supporters this season have been magnificent and I know our fans all over the world have been tuning in and watching. A tour like this gives us the opportunity to go and meet those fans and thank them for their support.''
Recently appointed captain of Melbourne Victory, Adrian Leijer, is hoping that the out of season game will be an opportunity for him to start preparations at the helm of the team under a new manager. The Victory's preparation for the Celtic game is basic at best, with the recent departure of manager Ernie Merrick, and captain Kevin Muscat. After an early departure in the 2010/11 A-League finals, as well as the 2011 Asian Champions League, Melbourne Victory are looking forward to the game.
"They're a massive club, Celtic, and for us guys in Australia it's fantastic to play against a team that's ranked pretty highly in the world of soccer and with a fantastic history," Leijer mentioned, "It's good for the club, good exposure for us. It's going to be early in pre-season, but it's a nice early hit-out and it will be good to see where we're at."
With a huge international supporter base for Celtic, it is expected that all games will draw high attendance.
By Ric de France, and can be distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License - giving attribution to the author and this page.