Preston boss says Celtic match is like playing in the Champions League

By Euan Davidson

July 17, 2021

Preston boss Frankie McAvoy has told his players that meeting Celtic in their pre-season is like playing in the Champions League.

Preston North End have a unique honour this evening. They’re the first team to play away at Celtic Park with fans in attendance since March 2020. Fine, it’s only 2,000, but McAvoy is sure there’ll be an “edge” and an atmosphere as Scott Sinclair and co. aim to make an impression in Glasgow.

McAvoy said [Lancashire Live]:

“I was saying to the guys that it’s like a Champions League group, with Celtic, Man City and Man United.

“It’s great for us, I think our boys have done well since I took over and it gives them a great opportunity to go and showcase their talents and how good they can be.

“We’ll look at trying to get as many players up to 60 minutes as possible.

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“It’s a magnificent theatre to go and play football in. Celtic have played in European football for many years and are probably a wounded animal, losing the Scottish title last season.

“I’m not sure how noisy it will be but it’ll just be great for some of our lads to go and experience playing at Celtic Park.

“That Scottish-English competitiveness will definitely be there and the game will have that edge.”

Preston boss’ Celtic Champions League comparison adds to interesting tie

For Celtic, this is already an intriguing fixture. It’s Ange Postecoglou’s first match at Celtic Park. As discussed, some fans will be in attendance, and it’s an opportunity for the new boss to field something close to his strongest XI, ahead of meeting FC Midtjylland in the Champions League.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

So, from a Celtic perspective, there’s plenty to stew over. We hadn’t really thought of it from Preston North end’s perspective. Primarily, because this is a Bhoys website.

It’s very interesting motivation from Frankie McAvoy, though. The former Hamilton Academical academy coach and Norwich City assistant knows all about Scottish football, and the famous Celtic Park atmosphere. However, he’s given his charges a tough pre-season schedule – Celtic included – that ought to test his side ahead of another assault on promotion.

Fine, strictly speaking, it’s just a friendly. However, McAvoy sounds proud and excited to be leading a team out against Celtic, at Paradise.

If he’s going to hype up the game as being something akin to the Champions League, who are we to stop him?

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