John Hartson: This will improve chances of Celtic success in Champions League
By Matt Farr
Former Celtic striker John Hartson insists that the club’s winter break in Dubai will do wonders for their Champions League campaign next season.
Brendan Rodgers’ squad flew to Dubai at the start of the month to take a break from a rigorous campaign, and they are not due back in action until January 22 when they take on Albion in the Scottish Cup.
However, with a game in-hand still to play in the Scottish Premiership, Celtic have as many as four games in the space of just 11 days when they return.
If they continue on their current course, Celtic will land themselves not only a sixth consecutive league title, but also a place in the qualifying stages of the Champions League, which will cut short their summer holiday.
But Hartson insists that the winter break will have major benefits for the club in the long-term, as it will see them head into the second-half of the campaign and beyond in peak physical condition.
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In his column for the Scottish Sun, Hartson said: “You can bet that the Celtic players needed this break in Dubai and I’m convinced they will see the benefits of it in the summer.
“They have been able to relax, switch off and tick over in the winter sun. Trips like the one to Dubai will only help improve the camaraderie and togetherness of the squad.
“The Treble is in their sights, but qualifying for the Champions League in the summer is just as important. A week in the Dubai sun has ensured that these Celtic players will be as fresh as they possibly can be come July.”
Brendan Rodgers strives for success at Parkhead, and part of his ambition for the club is to become a force in Europe, as well as maintain their dominance in Scotland.
To do that, the former Liverpool boss is likely to make changes to his squad, but negotiating the fitness of his current stars is also a top priority.
The Hoops played an incredible 44 games between July and December, a mix of qualifiers, friendlies, and domestic fixtures, and they are only half-way through the campaign.
Games will continue to come thick and fast for Celtic as long as they are fighting on multiple fronts, and they must ensure they take full advantage of any rest periods they get throughout the year.
In other Celtic news, midfielder Callum McGregor has admitted he had fears over his Celtic career.