Celtic likely to swerve Dubai as manager Ange Postecoglou confirms Parkhead club finalising winter training camp

The Hoops have travelled to the Middle East for the past five seasons but they will NOT be heading back there

Ange Postecoglou has confirmed that Celtic are finalising plans for a winter trainer camp abroad which he believes will be “like gold” for his new-look squad.

It is understood the Parkhead club will NOT be returning to the Middle East in January after their previous trip 11 months ago was shrouded in controversy.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

For the past five years, Celtic have flown out to Dubai during the mid-season break but the Hoops were heavily criticised for their actions in doing so during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic on their most recent trip.

Upon their return to the UK, a number of players were forced into quarantine after testing positive for the virus or being identified as a close contact.

That caused havoc for previous boss Neil Lennon, who was also confined to his own home for a spell due to the government guidelines as the club’s ten-in-a-row hopes quick evaporated.

A European destination could be on the agenda this season and Postecoglou reckons it could be crucial for his first-team stars following a hectic summer re-build and fixture list that meant new recruits such as Jota and Kyogo Furuhashi were thrown into action, despite knowing little about their new team-mates.

Postecoglou is looking forward to getting some intensive work into his side, stating: “We are planning for that now and we will certainly have some sort of camp. It will give the boys a bit of a break.

“We just assembled this group of people together without really being able to settle them and create a real settled culture and environment with the football we want to play.

“A week’s training will be like gold for us and we will certainly use that time, but there is a lot of football to be played before then.”

Before the winter shutdown, Celtic face another busy spell in their season heading into the festive period with up to 12 games to be played, including a New Year-Old Firm Derby against Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers.

The Hoops also have the matter of a Premier Sports Cup semi-final showdown with St Johnstone at Hampden Park and critical Europa League matches against Bayer Leverkusen and Real Betis on the horizon.

As a result, Postecoglou is praying his players will return from international duty over the next fortnight with no fresh injury concerns.

He added: “Obviously we want the boys to do well, the ones that go away. They have some big games and we are wishing them well. Hopefully, they get through unscathed.

“We have some here who will be at Lennoxtown, some who have played quite a lot of football and need a break.

“Others we need to put some work into, so it’s an important period and there is a massive game when we get back, so we want to be ready for it.”