When it comes to Celtic in Dubai, it’s a popular theory that our trips there have played a key role in securing our recent trebles.
Indeed, Brendan Rodgers took Celtic to the Middle East back in the winter of 2016. It helped lead us to an unbeaten season. That was enough for the Hoops to continue their jaunts to Dubai, and it’s historically proven to be a success.
However, what is it that Celtic actually work on in mid-season? After such a poor performance in our last match against Rangers, you would imagine the training was of a high-intensity.
Well, Neil Lennon has touched on the goings-on in Dubai in this week’s Celtic View (Volume 55, Issue 25, Page 04), Lenny opened up on the trip:
“Once we finished the sessions in the afternoon, after they’d put the hard work in, they had the chance to relax in a nice climate. Mentally and physically, that’s the best of both worlds and was very good for the squad as a whole.
“Over there, it was great to focus on very specific aspects of our game, and we were also working in much bigger areas. The social benefits of the mid-season training camp are unquestionable. Having the players sharing accomodation, working and living together 24-hours-a-day is hugely beneficial for morale.
“The players having time with their families was crucial. So was getting them back in and re-engaging with one another. Whether we want to do a bit of tactical work, or a bit of technical work, the players enjoy that as well, because they’ve not had much of a chance to do that over the last several weeks.”
The best of both worlds
Gone are the days of players just being told to run until they can’t run anymore. Mid-season training camps seem to be all the rage, with Rangers, Aberdeen, Motherwell, and Hibernian just some of the other Scottish clubs who went away too.
It’s clear this trip was a mixture of work and relaxation. The fact that the players’ families were able to go with them will have given them a spring in their step too.
It’s also a big positive to see that Celtic weren’t just using the climate to do cardio work. Working on some of the more specific aspects of our game over there will hopefully have us more prepared ahead of the second half of the season.
One of the biggest concerns we had against Rangers, for example, is how we defended set-pieces. In our last two derby matches we’ve been found wanting from cross-balls. It’s great to hear Lennon state that they were focusing on specifics, which must’ve included that aspect of our game.
The big question now is whether, for the fourth year in-a-row, Dubai can prove to be a key tool for us in our springboard to success.
Partick Thistle on Saturday should give us an indication of the benefits. Here’s hoping, once again, we start a fine run of form post-Dubai.