Celtic’s January Staycation – Brendan bins warm-weather training camp

Brendan Rodgers has decided against taking his first team squad away in January to a warm-weather
training camp and reckons that this will have an added advantage of allowing his players to spend more time with their family doing the winter shut-down as they will pretty much be denied that family-time over the festive period, where of course Celtic are away on Boxing Day (as usual).

The terrible situation in the Holy Land appears to also have played a part in this decision as the Celtic manager explained to the written mainstream media ahead of this afternoon’s match at Celtic Park against Motherwell. Explaining his decision to forego the usual winter training camp, the Celtic manager, as reported by Scottish Sun said:

 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is seen during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Aberdeen at Celtic Park Stadium on November 12, 2023,. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I always think it’s a period where you can break the cycle a bit, and get some warm-weather training in. We were looking to go out to Abu Dhabi, but because of the situation in the world I didn’t want to bring any risk to it.

“So rather than waiting to see what happens, let’s just make the decision early. That allows the players to spend some time off with their families, which is probably more beneficial anyway. And if we need to pick up some warm-weather training later on, we have a chance to do that.

“In January it will still be the same timeline. It’s just they will be able to rest physically and mentally with their families. Especially over the next six weeks, they are going to be away from their families a lot anyway.

“So it will actually be nice for them to reconnect. I always think as well when you’re a group or a team that wants to win trophies, you don’t win them in the last week of the season. It’s all these little moments that add up to arriving, to you becoming a winner.

“We’re giving the players the chance to refresh after what will have been a hectic period. In a footballer’s life, we’re very privileged and we’re very lucky — but it’s not attuned to normal life.

“We’re working when everyone else will be celebrating and enjoying themselves. In that period a player can get the chance to have their Christmas a wee bit later with their families.”

After a fortnight with no club football, Celtic go back into the thick of it today and are pretty much non-stop up to and including the short trip to Paisley to take on St Mirren in the first match of 2024 on 2nd January.

 Hyeongyu Oh  scores his team’s fifth goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Aberdeen at Celtic Park Stadium on November 12, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“It’s the period we’ve got coming up that sets you up for the end. There’s a very busy schedule of games between now and 2nd January, which I’m really excited by and looking forward to,” Brendan said. “We’ve won 11 out of 13, and we’ve travelled to some really difficult places already. That was especially when we were still finding our feet at the beginning.

“Now we’re starting to find rhythm, speed and tempo in our game, and confidence too. Starting this weekend against Motherwell, it’s the beginning of a run of big games for us. And I’m really excited by it.”

Celtic supporters will always look at how our rivals get on, and will be cheering Aberdeen on tomorrow First of course the entire focus will be on supporting the team at Celtic Park this afternoon but today is all that matters to the Celtic manager. The performance and the three points and that’s it as far as he’s concerned.

“I’m only really looking at ourselves and winning the games. Of course, if teams have games to catch up then you’ve got to play them at some point. But really my focus is on ourselves and performing well, which will hopefully then see us get the results we want.”

Rodgers admits too that he’s learned not to play the predictions game, looking at where there’s a risk of points being dropped and estimating how many points he reckons his side will accrue during a run of fixtures. Experience has shown that is’s a pointless exercise.

“I used to do that when I was younger. But what you learn through experience is that you waste your time forecasting. In the last schedule we had seven games in a 21-day period. It was a really intense spell.

“We now go into this period until 2nd January with a whole host of games. But really I just look at the next one, as boring as that sounds. I can’t forecast what Motherwell will bring, or what Aberdeen and (the)Rangers will do. I can prepare ourselves and that’s my only focus.”

Luis Palma  celebrates after he scores during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Aberdeen at Celtic Park on November 12, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Most of them are back. There are a few more who came back on Thursday, and then Luis Palma and Ally Johnston were not back in until Friday. All the others have come back OK. None of the guys who were out before like Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda will be back fit yet.

“Kyogo Furuhashi is OK, he has joined in with the group. We gave him a week just to find his feet again, but he should be fine.”

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The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

1 Comment

  1. What’s this holy land pish? The board came away with it in their recent statement, now here!!! If you are talking about that part of the world, it is either Palestine or Israel, depending on the context! Drop this holy land bollocks immediately!!