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Celtic begin the defence of their SPL championship this Sunday where they entertain Motherwell at Celtic park. In their first competitive match without Parkhead legend Henrik Larsson, the Bhoys will be looking to return to winning ways by taking all three points in this SPL opener.

After a mixed pre-season, which was completed with a 2-1 win over Newcastle, Celtic will surely be the favourites despite losing influential Swede Larsson. The Hoops also recorded victories over Fulham and Manchester United as well as losing against Roma, Liverpool and Chelsea. The steelmen come into the encounter fresh off the back of a 3-0 win against Scottish division three outfit Stenhousemuir.

The match gives new signing Henri Camara a chance to impress in front of the Celtic faithful after completing his loan move from Wolves believed to be worth around £1.5 million-the most expensive loan deal ever in British football. The quick striker from Senegal has promised big things after he refused to play again for relegated Premiership side Wolves.

The match will give Martin O’Neill a first chance to see the team in competitive action again and perhaps a chance to see whether some youngsters can make it at the top level. After a promising Pre-season from many of Celtics youngsters, players including Aiden McGeady, Ross Wallace and Craig Beattie will be hopeful of pushing their way into Martins plans for the new season.

Celtic have only one major doubt ahead of the match, this being left midfielder Alan Thompson, after a clash with Chris Eagles during Celtics pre-season tour of America Thompson looks set to miss the Motherwell match. Long-term absentees Shaun Maloney and John Kennedy will also miss the match.

Player to watch

David Clarkson

The young Motherwell forward showed much promise last season by netting 15 goals in 45 appearances. The hard working Scot possesses good technical ability and an eye for goal. Certainly one for the future aswell as the...
Celtic are looking for their second win of the pre-season this Saturday when they meet Premiership big spenders Chelsea on their tour of USA & Canada. The Chelsea match is Celtic’s first of their tour and will be looking forward to their first real challenge without Parkhead legend Henrik Larsson.

The game will take place at the magnificent home of the Seattle Seahawks in Washington DC, the 67,000 all seater is where Celtic met Manchester United this time last year and lost 4-0. Celtic flew out to their base in the USA fresh off the back of a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage against Fulham.

During the pre-season Chelsea have so far played one match in which they drew 1-1 with League 2 side Oxford Town with new signing Mateja Kezman on the scoresheet. Unlike Celtic, Chelsea have once again been active in this seasons transfer market bringing in Paulo Ferreira, Mateja Kezman, Petr Cech and Arjen Robben whilst Didier Drogba and Tiago Mendes are also expected to join shortly. Chelsea also appointed a new coach in Joe Mourinho who took over from Claudio Ranieri, Mourinho who signed from Portuguese champions FC Porto led them to a European and UEFA cup.

Despite Celtic being inactive in this seasons market many youngsters are expected to make a name for themselves on the coming tour, 18 year old Aiden Mcgeady who recently got his first cap for Ireland is expected to make a big impact on the SPL this season and he is thought to be relishing playing the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.

Celtic don’t have any injury worries ahead of the match except youngster Stephen Mcmanus who went off early on against Fulham with a suspected leg injury and long term absentees Shaun Maloney and John Kennedy who aren’t expected to play again until Christmas at the earliest.

Player to Watch

Mateja Kezman

The 25 year old Yugoslavian was signed at the beginning of the summer as part of Mourinho’s revolution at the club. This quick striker possesses skill, pace,...
Celtic kicked off their pre season campaign in style yesterday with a convincing 2-0 win over London based side Fulham. In Fulham’s second game back at the cottage many fans expected a lively and competitive game in which both sides would have opportunities and goals.

Before this occasion I never really knew how many Celtic fans existed in South Wales however on arrival to Cardiff Central we saw at least 10 Celtic fans at the station and another 20 or so already on the train. Undoubtedly the train became like the inside of a stadium with chants being blurted out the whole journey. Once we had arrived at our destination (Putney Bridge Tube station) we immediately noticed the sea of green and white which we stood in front of, all pubs and clubs around were dressed in the hoops, I failed to see a single Fulham fan in this area of the city and wondered just how many would be at the game.

In an early arrival to the cottage I noticed just how much work had been done to the ground and I must say I was impressed, from reading reviews of previous fans who visited the ground I was expecting it to be a sh*t hole but fair play the stadium wasn’t all that bad and in my view was better than Loftus Road where Fulham had previously played their games. The stadium was all one tiered except the main stand which had an upper and lower section, I think this must’ve been the only stand which they didn’t re-develop as the layout of the stand was shocking (I sometimes found myself stuck in places and unable to get out without diving over a metal fence) and the upper section of the stand was wooden seats, whilst Larsson 04-05 was sitting pretty on his fancy plastic seat I was stuck on my rock hard wooden one which was close to falling apart.

Nevertheless I was excited for the game and wouldn’t let this little hitch spoil my day, as I would be standing most of the match anyway. The first half line ups suggested that this would be quite a chop and change game but I didn’t really...