Preview: Fraserburgh vs. Celtic

Preview: Fraserburgh vs. Celtic

Brendan Rodgers kick-starts his second spell in charge of Celtic with a fundraiser-friendly match away against Highland League side Fraserburgh on Saturday.

Fifty-three years on from their last meeting in a charity match following the Fraserburgh lifeboat disaster, the two teams renew acquaintances at Bellslea Park with all proceeds to be donated to the Fraserburgh RNLI Lifeboat Station.

On January 21, 1970, five men tragically lost their lives when The Duchess of Kent lifeboat was capsized by a huge wave 40 miles out to sea during their rescue mission to aid a Danish fishing vessel.

Three months later, Celtic admirably agreed to take part in a fundraiser match for the Fraserburgh Lifeboat Disaster Fund – eight days before their European Cup final loss to Feyenoord – with Jock Stein’s legendary side, including several ‘Lisbon Lions’ stars such as Billy McNeill, Bobby Lennox, Bobby Murdoch and Jimmy Johnstone, running out 7-0 winners on a day fondly remembered for raising the spirits within the local community.

Plans to mark the 50th anniversary with a friendly fixture in 2020 were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but treble winners Celtic will travel to the North East of Scotland for the rearranged contest this weekend.

Celtic ended the 2022-23 campaign by lifting the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Cup and League Cup under Ange Postecoglou, who has since departed the club after two years in the dugout to join Tottenham Hotspur.

The Hoops hierarchy identified Brendan Rodgers as the outstanding candidate to succeed Postecoglou, with the Northern Irishman returning to Parkhead four years after his sudden mid-season departure to Leicester City.

Rodgers has insisted that it is not “a nostalgic move” to return to Glasgow and has “guaranteed” that he will see out his three-year contract this time round, unless he is sacked before then.

Celtic’s fixture with Fraserburgh takes place a few weeks before they begin their pre-season tour in Japan and South Korea, and the Hoops will then conclude their preparations with James Forrest’s testimonial against Athletic Bilbao at Parkhead on August 1, just under a week before they begin their defence of the Premiership title.

Fraserburgh, meanwhile, ended the 2022-23 season with a fifth-placed finish in the Highland League, twelve months on from winning their first league title in two decades and narrowly missing out on promotion to League Two via the playoffs.

Despite winning 21, drawing eight and losing just five of their 34 league fixtures, scoring 91 goals and conceding only 31 in the process, the Broch finished 18 points behind champions Brechin City, and manager Mark Cowie is tasked with closing that gap to top spot in 2023-24.

The Aberdeenshire-based outfit begin their pre-season preparations with a mammoth contest against Celtic, and friendly encounters with Cove Rangers, Aberdeen and East Fife will follow before they begin the new season with a league clash at home to Lossiemouth on July 29.

Fraserburgh form (all competitions):

Celtic form (all competitions):

We say: Fraserburgh 0-4 Celtic
The full-time result is of little importance to either side on this charitable occasion, but nevertheless, Celtic will be regarded as firm favourites to come away with a comfortable victory.

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