Australia was the destination for the Celtic squad this morning as the team flew out for their pre-season tour of Down Under.
Paddy McCourt was part of the side which visited Brisbane two years ago but with this trip covering three major cities over two-and-a-half weeks, he is looking forward to returning.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said before boarding the plane. “It’s a long way away but it’s going to be well-structured. We played in Brisbane last time but it was a bit of a whirlwind trip with a lot of travelling. We’d only been out there two days before we had a game and then came back near enough right after that.
“To have two-and-a-half weeks out there this time, with three games in three different places, gives us a chance to see Australia. It’s three new cities to see and that’s a bonus of playing here - you get to see a lot of the world.
"We’ll have plenty of time to acclimatise and get into a routine of being 10 hours ahead. I think it’ll be even better than last time and be a worthwhile trip.”
The players returned from their summer break last Wednesday and have already been put through their paces at the Lennoxtown Training Centre. But while the work has been a challenge, McCourt has been enjoying it.
“It’s been tough enough but not too hard because everyone knows there’s a long way to go in pre-season," he said. "We’re getting back into it at the minute and it’s been good.”
While the trip will be a good opportunity for the players to get a taste of Australia, it will also allow the supporters to see their heroes in the flesh.
The turn-out against Brisbane in 2009 was impressive, but with even more fans expected to snap up the tickets for the three friendlies, McCourt is looking forward to giving something back to those in the stands.
“The fans were unbelievable the last time we were there,” he said. “There were about 30,000 at the game and it was brilliant.
“Celtic fans, no matter where you go, seem to always appear. They’re all over the world so I’m sure this time it’ll be no different.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if every game is sold out because it was close to it in Brisbane and that’s not as big a city as the likes of Sydney. I’m sure there will be a lot of fans there.”