Celtic are gearing up for the return to action, with the squad expected back at Lennoxtown on Friday. However, it will be a skeleton crew initially, as several key players are still involved in international duties. The lads participating in the Euros will enjoy a bit more time off, while Cameron Carter-Vickers and Alistair Johnston are currently competing in the Copa America.

The first group back will mostly consist of young players and a few first-team members. The official website’s countdown has highlighted just how soon Celtic will be back on the pitch. In just 11 days, the squad will head to Ayr United for the grand opening of the new stand in Ayr.

Scott Brown, Ayr United’s current manager, has invited his former team to be the special guests for this significant event. Tickets for the match went on sale earlier this month, and the Celtic allocation was snapped up swiftly. The eagerness to see the Scottish champions, even with a depleted squad, is evident, showcasing the fans’ hunger for the return of their team, even in a friendly.

Brendan Rodgers will oversee his team’s initial preparations, aiming to get everyone up to speed. However, the focus for many fans remains on potential summer signings. The anticipation around new recruits is palpable as supporters look forward to bolstering the squad.

Following the Ayr United match, Celtic will face Queen’s Park in a game not open to Celtic supporters. A small group of Queen’s Park fans is expected to attend that game on the July 10.

After these initial fixtures, the team will head to the USA for a series of matches against Manchester City, Chelsea, and DC United. This pre-season tour offers a chance to test the squad against top-tier opposition and build momentum ahead of the new campaign. By that time, most of the squad will be back in action.

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