Celtic worked on 3-5-2, 4-4-2 and pressing game in Dubai, explains Scott Brown

A week is a long time on a training pitch, Scott Brown would tell you. And the Celtic captain is firmly of the belief that a seemingly straightforward passage of intense coaching has allowed the 
Scottish champions to storm back after the winter break and whip up a seven-point advantage at the top of the Premiership.

Celtic's Scott Brown during a training session at Lennoxtown. Picture: Alan Harvey / SNS
Celtic's Scott Brown during a training session at Lennoxtown. Picture: Alan Harvey / SNS

Incredibly, Brown revealed that the five consecutive days Neil Lennon and his backroom team spent working through drills with the full squad in Dubai was the first such prolonged training stint since pre-season at the start of July, such has been their hectic schedule.

Following five wins on the spin – wherein they have averaged three goals a game despite four of these being away encounters – Celtic head into tonight’s fixture at Motherwell as a side both reinvograted and reconfigured during the shutdown.

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Brown has no interest in speculating as to why Rangers have struggled since they too returned from Dubai. He only considers how his club made the pause a period of recuperation and reflection.

“We go to Dubai and we work on whatever we need to work on,” the 34-year-old said. “The manager and coaching staff have five or six days to sit down and think about what we are going to do: if we want to tweak what we did the year before, or if we wan to do the exact same. We worked on 
3-5-2, we worked on 4-4-2 as well.

“So we have checked out a couple of ways and formations of how we are going to play, how we are going to press and when we are going to trigger the press. Dubai’s always good for us because it’s hard to get that full week’s training we never seem to do here when there’s a game every three days. You can never get the lads together for a full proper training session of 60, 70, 80 minutes.

“You can’t get those going because there is a game, or because of your recovery, or because you have to chill because you have a game in two days. It’s hard to get that fluency into training.

“It would be OK if we have a Saturday-Saturday, or Sunday-Sunday game schedule but we never really have that [across the first half of the season], only after international games when the lads are all coming back. But by then they’ve played two games in the previous week. So are you going to put them through a hard session before you go another 10 games in a row?”