x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Mowbray hoping Celtic put on Australian show

The Bhoys manager believes their friendly against Brisbane Roar will be crucial in allowing him to assess the players at his disposal.

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray believes their friendly against Brisbane Roar will be crucial in allowing him to assess the players at his disposal. Mowbray takes to the dugout as Hoops manager for the first time tomorrow for the match in Australia and is determined to begin his rein with a win. It will be his first chance to see the squad he inherited from Gordon Strachan this summer in action as he prepares for the new Scottish Premier League season. There could also be an opportunity for fans at the match to see Marc-Antoine Fortune in a hooped jersey for the first time, just days after sealing a reported £3.8million move from Nancy. "I've been working with the players for a few weeks now and I'm looking forward to seeing the likes of Scott McDonald performing," said the Celtic boss. "I've watched these guys from afar in England and now I can go and work with them. "Marc-Antoine Fortune is on the trip with us and I'm looking forward to gelling all our strikers together. "We are taking this match very seriously. It's about getting a balance. "We want to protect players but we are always expected to win and we'll be trying to do that." The clash with Roar is the first of four preseason friendlies before Celtic's opening Uefa Champions League qualifier. Mowbray added: "I'm delighted to be here and I look forward to this game immensely. This is my first visit to Australia and it's great to come and meet the fans. "Celtic supporters are known all over the world and it's fantastic to be in charge of a club with such a worldwide following. "We are here to show our support to these fans in Australia. We want to give them something back for the support they show us. "We're looking forward to the event and hopefully we can give them something to shout about." McDonald will wear the captain's armband in the absence of the injured skipper Stephen McManus, and the Australian striker warned that their hosts are not to be underestimated. He told www.celticfc.net: "Like all Australian sides, they will be very fit, but Roar are also strong technically. The A-League is improving all the time and Australian soccer is getting better. It's going to be a hard game." Meanwhile Eddie Johnson and Erik Nevland scored six minutes apart in the second half to lead English Premier League club Fulham to a 3-0 win over Australia's Melbourne Victory in a preseason friendly today.

The win helps make amends for a surprise 2-1 loss to Gold Coast United in the opening match of Fulham's Australian tour. Andy Johnson opened the scoring for Fulham from a penalty in the 33rd minute when he coolly slotted the ball past the Melbourne keeper Mitchell Langerak and into the corner of the net. Johnson was brought down in the area by a rash challenge from the Victory skipper and former Millwall captain Kevin Muscat. Johnson extended the lead for Fulham in the 67th minute when he eluded the lone defender in a 20-metre run before wrong-footing the substitute goalkeeper Glen Moss to score. The Norwegian forward Nevland sealed the win in the 73rd minute when he gathered a pass from South Korea's Seol Ki-hyeon and guided it into the net. A lively Melbourne side had the visitors on the back foot for much of the first half in front of just over 20,000 fans at Docklands stadium. But despite several scoring opportunities throughout the match, the Victory were unable to beat Fulham's Australia keeper Mark Schwarzer. Melbourne's best chance came in the 62nd minute when Archie Thompson collected a Tom Pondeljak pass in front of the goal, but bounced his shot off the crossbar. Fulham lost to the Gold Coast after the new A-League club scored twice in the final 10 minutes. Fulham concludes its Australian preseason tour on Wednesday with a match against Perth Glory. The London club plays its first match of the Europa League, formally the Uefa Cup, on July 30 after ending the 2008-2009 Premier League season with a best-ever seventh-place finish.

* With agencies