Celtic latest: Club agrees US deal, trio to return against Motherwell, EPL star hails Hoops

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Celtic have announced a new partnership with American team Columbus Eagles.

The women’s soccer team, based in Ohio, has competed in the Women’s Premier Soccer League since the club’s foundation in 2014, and have joined up with the Celtic Soccer Academy’s International Partnership Programme in North America.

A general view of Celtic fans at Parkhead. Picture: SNS Group

A general view of Celtic fans at Parkhead. Picture: SNS Group

The arrangement will see both clubs work together and trading advice on coach and player development, according to the Hoops.

Players and coaches will have the opportunity to travel to Glasgow and visit Celtic’s Women’s Academy while coaches will have access to the Parkhead side’s “monthly coach education WebEx meetings” as well.

Mark Wise, owner and chief executive officer of the Eagles, said: “We are excited to be able to partner with Celtic FC to provide mutual support and promotion.

“Having the opportunity to host a summer camp staffed by members of their coaching staff will be great for the youth players in central Ohio. We look forward to the possibility of interacting with the Celtic FC’s women’s first team with the thought of creating exciting options for our players.”

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Alex Macpherson, Partnership Executive at Celtic, added: “We are thrilled to have the Columbus Eagles become our first female specific partner in Ohio, USA. They will gain exclusive access to benefits only partner clubs can get particularly with our Woman’s Academy here at Celtic.”

Meanwhile, captain Scott Brown, defender Jozo Simunovic and striker Leigh Griffiths could all return to the starting line-up against Motherwell this evening. Brown came on as a substitute in the Betfred Cup final while Griffiths scored on his return to the first team in the 3-0 win over Hamilton at the Hope Stadium. Simunovic, meanwhile, looks like the obvious candidate to partner Filip Benkovic in defence following injury to Dedryck Boyata.

Kristoffer Ajer, Eboue Kouassi and Daniel Arzani remain out and Nir Bitton is on the comeback trail following knee trouble.

Elsewhere, Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk has paid tribute to Celtic for shaping his career. The former Southampton stopper told the BBC: “Celtic helped me a lot in making my move to Southampton.

“It was a great time for me in my development. It was three years abroad, adapting to the British style of play and winning trophies for such a big club with amazing fans.”