Football/Soccer

Celtic aiming to be invincible again says Scott Sinclair

Celtic forward Scott Sinclair is aiming for another unbeaten domestic campaign next season.

Celtic forward Scott Sinclair has set his sights on another unbeaten season.

Brendan Rodgers' treble winners completed a remarkable campaign last term by going 47 games without losing to Scottish opposition.

The Hoops will learn on Friday who they will kick off the new campaign against when the 2017/18 top-flight fixtures are announced.

And double player of the year award winner Sinclair reckons his team are more than capable of extending their incredible record into a second year.

Asked if the team could go unbeaten again this term, the Englishman said: "I'd like to think so. When we go into these games we'll be looking to do exactly the same as we did last year.

"I think we're much stronger now (than at the beginning of last season). Throughout last year, game by game I thought we improved dramatically from the start to the finish.

"We started well and finished even stronger.

"If we can do that again going into this season then hopefully we can do the same.

"Everyone will be trying to beat us this year because we went unbeaten. Everyone will be trying to get out of the blocks quick and try to stop us. I'm sure Aberdeen will be up there and every team will be trying to win."

Sinclair and members of the Hoops squad not involved in international action over the summer returned to pre-season training on Monday, with the rest of Brendan Rodger's squad set to report back on Thursday.

The team will then fly out for a training camp and three-game tour of Austria and the Czech Republic before rounding off their preparations for their opening Champions League qualifier with a friendly clash against Shamrock Rovers in Dublin on July 8.

Celtic could yet extend their stay on the Emerald Isle with the possibility of a July 12 showdown with Northern Irish champions Linfield looming, should the Belfast side overcome San Marino's La Florita in the first round.

Arrangements for such a fixture at the height of the marching season have yet to be confirmed by UEFA, but there are already concerns tensions with Linfield's Loyalist support could spill over.

But Sinclair is confident his side will handle the powder-keg clash.

"The atmosphere is high any time we play," he said. "We're always the team to beat so I'm sure everyone will be looking forward to it.

"Every team comes out trying to beat us so no matter who we play it will be a difficult game, so we just need to show the same mentality and character and not under-estimate any team going into the competition."

Rodgers' team showed glimpses of style during their Champions League run last term, but still ended up bottom of their section.

Now Sinclair is keen to prove his team are better suited to facing the continent's best side when they kick off their qualifying bid this time round.

But he stressed the number one target right for the Parkhead men right now was to ensure they did not suffer an early exit.

He said: "After the season we had we want to get back into the group stages and progress from there.

"I'd say [making progress in Europe] is one of the main aims for us this season. Obviously there is the league and cup games where we want to do well.

"But the fans love to see us in Europe playing on those big Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

"The main thing first of all is to get into the group stages. Once we do that then we can talk about how far we want to take it."

Football/Soccer

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