FC Augsburg 0 - 0 Celtic: Celtic start tour with a stalemate
CELTIC’S preparations for the 2012-13 season in the Scottish Premier League – for which they are as low as 1-50 to win, with no Rangers to challenge them – started in earnest with a goalless draw against Augsburg last night.
Scotland winger James Forrest, who celebrated his 21st birthday at the weekend, was handed the captaincy for the friendly in the Stauferpark Stadion, but he and his fellow forwards could not break down a well-organised and stubborn German defence.
Fraser Forster, who signed a contract with Celtic at the start of the week after his highly successful loan spell from Newcastle, was in solid form, and anything Augsburg had to throw at him and his defence, he proved equal too. Neil Lennon introduced Daryl Murphy, fresh from his loan spell at Ipswich Town last season, as a substitute in the second half, and he came closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit the post in the 70th minute
Lewis Toshney then replaced Anthony Stokes and Tony Watt came on for Beram Kayal as Lennon looked to give his squad some game-time, but although Celtic had the better of the closing stages they couldn’t force a winner. Celtic next play Stuttgart Kickers on Sunday, followed by another friendly against Vfr Aalen on Tuesday, before further warm-ups against Ajax, Norwich City and Inter Milan before they begin their defence of the SPL championship at home to Aberdeen on 4 August.
Celtic: Forster; K. Wilson, Mulgrew, Twardzik; McGeouch, Kayal (Watt 72), Ledley, Blackman; Forrest (McCourt 60); Stokes (Toshney 72), Hooper (Murphy 63). Subs not used: Zaluska.
Meanwhile, Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley believes reaching the group stages of the Champions League would be a huge achievement for the club. Ledley, 25, has been a mainstay of the Celtic side since his move from Cardiff two years ago and the Wales international has targeted progression in Europe this season. He also maintained it would have still been a priority if angers had been accepted into the SPL in their newco form.
“Qualifying for the Champions League is massive. It would still have been like that even if Rangers were still in the league,” he said before the “As players, you just want to get to that stage. It’s a fantastic tournament. That’s our aim this season and hopefully we can achieve it. We gained a lot from the Europa League last season. We enjoyed it even though we had an extremely difficult group.”
Celtic were one of several SPL clubs to vote against newco Rangers’ application to the top flight but Ledley revealed he did not keep abreast of the ongoing situation during his summer holiday. “I didn’t follow the events. . . I didn’t really know much about it as I was away. I still don’t know all that much about what happened,” he said. “We concentrate on our club and everyone knows that if you break the rules you are going to have to face the consequences.”
Meanwhile, Beram Kayal is eagerly anticipating the forthcoming friendlies against Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He said: “We have some good games coming up, then the Champions League games, and then the league. I want to go back to Celtic Park, I miss playing there.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east