By Gavin Gibbon
Old Firm rivals both booked in at Nad al Sheba Sports Complex during SPL winter break
Scottish Old Firm footballing giants Rangers and Celtic will extend their city rivalry when they arrive in Dubai next year.
The Glasgow rivals, due to square off in a crucial league match on December 29, will both be heading to the UAE for the subsequent winter break at the start of January for warm weather training.
And both are booked in to use the world-renowned Nad al Sheba Sports Complex.
However, the site is more than big enough to handle the two squads.
The complex includes two FIFA-standard pitches, one with an IAAF-standard athletics track around the outside of it, and every hi-tech apparatus needed for recovery – used in the past by stars such as Novac Djokavic and Michael Phelps.
The site also boasts a luxury health club, with an altitude chamber, climate chamber, swimming pool, cryo chamber, a performance lab for real-time data and full medical facilities, including on-site masseuses and physiotherapists, as well as a spa and fully equipped gym.
There are indoor courts for squash, beach football and volleyball, as well as badminton, volleyball, futsal and fencing.
This will be the fourth year in a row that current Scottish champions Celtic have spent their mid-winter break in Dubai, while other teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Juventus, AC Milan and Real Madrid are previous visitors to the complex.
Manager Neil Lennon said: “We know that Dubai has worked very well for us before over the past few years. It is somewhere that offers excellent facilities and delivers a really good training base at such an important time in the season, so we are delighted to be returning.”
Meanwhile Rangers, managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, have announced plans to play a friendly match while in Dubai (January 6 to 12), although the identity of the opposition is yet to be revealed.
Both Rangers and Celtic operate successful supporters’ clubs in the emirate.