Riga FC v Celtic – “We’re lucky that we have Scott Brown as the captain,” says Celtic Star

GREG TAYLOR revealed that Celtic travelled to Latvia a day early for tomorrow evening’s Europa League Qualifier against Riga FC to allow time for the Covid tests to be carried out, this being just another example of the new norm that football clubs are having to deal with.

His manager had earlier spoken about the Celtic Party being practically confined to their hotel in Latvia, allowed out this evening to train at the Riga stadium and then again tomorrow for the game. And Neil Lennon also admitted that due to the Covid crisis, the usual preparation re watching the opposition has not been possible.

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The left back was clear though that the Celtic players are focused and understand the necessity of winning this one off time and taking a step towards the Group stages where Celtic performed admirably last season.

“There’s never complacency within our squad. We’re fully focused on the next match at every time. At a club this size, it’s important to win every match and Thursday is no different,” Taylor told the media from the team’s hotel in the Latvian capital.

And the former Kilmarnock man revealed why Celtic headed to Latvia earlier than is usually the case for away European ties. “We travelled a day earlier to get our COVID-19 testing out of the way. We’ll train today and be ready for tomorrow,” Taylor revealed.

Neil Lennon has been busy ensuring the players fully understand the significance of tomorrow’s match against a tricky opponent who know how to defend. “The gaffer’s stressed that it’s extremely important that we progress to the next round. We want European football this season. It was disappointing to go out of the Champions League but we’re in the Europa League now and our aim is to qualify,” Taylor said.

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“We know it’s going to be a tough game and it won’t be easy. The onus is on us to put on a performance and do what we need to do to get the win.”

“It’s vital that we perform on the night with it being a one game tie, there’s no room to slip up. We’ll do our best to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Greg Taylor is the latest player to discuss the absence of supporters from games. “Everyone misses the fans,” he said. “You’ve probably seen from the results in the league that there hasn’t been any sort of home or away advantage. It’s certainly a leveller without fans.”

Taylor, along with skipper Scott Brown has come in for cray levels of criticism – as indeed has Neil Lennon – from the armchair know-it-alls on social media. All three are heading for the scrap heap if what you read on there is to be believed. The Scotland International defender though is a big fan of his captain.

“We’re lucky that we have Scott Brown as the captain, he’s a great motivator. We all have our own self-motivation but with Broony and the gaffer, we have great motivators there. There’s no lack of motivation within our squad.”

You can watch Greg Taylor’s full Media Conference below…

About Author

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

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