Neil Lennon: Celtic will be 'fully prepared' for Sarajevo game
Celtic are facing a tough test in qualifying for this season’s group stages of the UEFA Champions League, with the Scottish champions having to play four qualifiers, but manager Neil Lennon says that his side are fully prepared.
FK Sarajevo are Celtic’s first opponents of the season in the first qualifying round of the competition, with the first leg away from home on the 9th/10th July and the return leg a week later on the 16th/17th July.
While Celtic’s preparations are being overshadowed by the lack of transfer activity, the Bosnians are in the midst of a player revolt after going unpaid since the club was bought from Vincent Tan in March.
Speaking to Celtic TV, Lennon said: “It’s a tough draw. We don’t know much about them, but by the time the tie comes around we’ll be fully prepared for them. Our focus at the minute is getting the boys back up to a decent condition, and then we’ve got a week in Austria.
“We’ll have all the analysis of the opposition by then, and we can do some prep work while we’re there. The three friendlies in Austria will be plenty of football to get themselves up to speed, and by the time the games come around, they’ll all be looking forward to playing.
“And then again, it’s a case of staggering the international boys into the second and third games when they can get some much-needed game time. We’re also hoping to bring some new additions in, and it’ll be important to integrate them as quickly as possible as well.”
A 10-day pre-season training camp in Austria and Switzerland awaits Celtic next week, where they will play three friendlies.Before a further week of preparations in Glasgow before travelling to Sarajevo.
The Northern Irishman added: “We’ll try and get as much out of the players during pre-season as we can, but we’ve also got to balance that out with recovery and we need to make sure we get that right.
“Even then, the games come so early that they might not be 100 per cent where they want to be, but again, with the second leg a week later, we’ve got another week to prepare them further still. It’s important that we get a decent result in the first leg to improve on in the second.”
If Celtic beat FK Sarajevo in the first round of the qualifying campaign, they will face either Nomme Kalju of Estonia or KF Shkendija of Macedonia in the second round.