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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Brendan Rodgers expects Dubai trip to recharge Celtic ahead of push for titles this season

Last year's visit to the UAE preceded a march to the domestic treble and the manager is hoping for more of the same this time around.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is sure that the break in Dubai will provide plenty of benefits when his side resume domestic duties. Russell Cheyne / Reuters
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is sure that the break in Dubai will provide plenty of benefits when his side resume domestic duties. Russell Cheyne / Reuters

Celtic can once again use their Dubai get-together to spur them to more success this season, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.

The Scottish champions, eight points clear in the Scottish Premiership at the halfway stage, have come to the UAE for a warm-weather training camp - just as they did 12 months ago.

Last year, Celtic returned to capture a domestic treble - the league, the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Cup - and finished their Premiership campaign unbeaten. With a record 106 points, they became the first Scottish side to complete a top-flight season undefeated since 1899.

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Again perched at the summit, and with another League Cup already in the trophy cabinet, Rodgers is hoping a second successive trip to Dubai will yield a similar return when the team return to Glasgow on Sunday.

“It’s been absolutely brilliant for us. Last year we came out and the players and staff loved it," Rodgers said. "It gives us a great chance to work on a lot of football concepts and reintroduce and develop a lot of them. And, because the season’s so busy, you don’t get the chance to socially connect.

“If I trace back our success over the 18, 19 months since I’ve been there, a big part of that has been our spirit and our ability to work really tight as a group, so this allows us to do that. Not just to bond professionally on the field, but engage and enhance that development off the field as well.

“I felt there were real benefits for us [last year]. When we left here the guys were refreshed, had a good time together, had that mental and physical freshness given by the trip. It’s a beautiful country. We work very hard, but then the players get the chance to relax, enjoy the sunshine. Hopefully it can work well again."

Celtic, who have already played 38 matches this season, return to action on January 20 with the Scottish Cup fourth-round match against Brechin City.