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STALEMATE IN PRAGUE

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SLAVIA PRAGUE 0 CELTIC 0

CELTIC lined up for their third game of pre-season with another very strong line up. Brendan Rodgers had made two changes to the starting eleven which started the match off against Rapid Vienna. Erik Sviatchenko and Stuart Armstrong were left out with Jozo Simunovic and Tom Rogic replacing them.

Before the match Celtic were welcomed to the city of Prague by the British Ambassador, Jan Thompson who held a reception along with the three clubs Slavia, FK Bohemians and Dukla Prague.

The British ambassador spoke about the great connection between Celtic and Czech football through Johnny Madden who was honoured before kick-off tonight at Slavia Prague’s home ground with the main stand being named the John William Madden Stand.

Celtic played superbly in the first twenty-five minutes of the game with two excellent chances being created. Kieran Tierney beat his man down the left-hand side and crossed the ball over which was cleared by Slavia.

Mikael Lustig latched on to this clearance but saw his shot tipped over the crossbar. The second opportunity came in the twenty-fourth minute when James Forrest cut the ball back to Tom Rogic whose shot was deflected wide.

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Slavia were tight and compact and very hard to breakdown. They ended the half well creating two exceptional chances with a header going narrowly over the crossbar. Though this game is a friendly Slavia were not holding back committing some awful challenges. Dedryck Boyata seemed to be in severe pain at the end of the half going down after what appeared to twist his knee.

Celtic started off the second-half as well as they did the first with Johnny Hayes replacing the injured Boyata.

Celtic should have gone one up after Tom Rogic played a delightful ball to Leigh Griffiths who then crossed to Scott Sinclair only for the winger to miss from around five-yards. Callum McGregor then came close after some superb footwork. He seemed to do everything but score.

Eventually before the hour mark a Slavia player was booked after a terrible challenge, Griffiths did though put the resulting freekick over the crossbar.

Rodgers changed the side on the hour mark making three subs. Griffiths, Sinclair and Simunovic departed the field with Sviatchenko, Armstrong and Dembele replacing them. Celtic dominated the rest of the game coming up against more horrific challenges that went unpunished.

Celtic were by far the better side controlling the game with sixty-eight percent of the possession, but found it hard to breakdown the aggressive compact Slavia side.

Celtic now travel to Dublin on Saturday to play Shamrock Rovers, the last game before our Champions League campaign kicks off. The team are looking increasingly sharp and seem to be in good shape for the forthcoming season.

Declan McConville

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