Victory looking forward to Celtic friendly

by AAP on May 18, 2011

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Melbourne Victory players will be under the microscope from the opening whistle as they start their season with a match against Scottish powerhouse Celtic.

The Victory will be only back at training for just over a week - under a still-to-be-appointed new coach - when they face the 42-time Scottish champions.

Celtic will open their three-match tour against the Central Coast Mariners at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on July 2, Perth Glory a week later and Victory in front of what's expected to be a full house at AAMI Park on July 13.

It is the second time in three years that Neil Lennon's team has visited Australia, having played a friendly in 2009 against Brisbane in front of 30,000 fans.

Only a week after being bundles out of the Asian Champions League, Victory skipper Adrian Leijer was already looking forward to the new season, and taking on the former European champions.

"For us guys in Australia it's fantastic to play against a team ranked pretty highly in the world of soccer that's got a fantastic history.

"They've got some good players, a proud history and they're a well known team in Aust and I think a lot of people will turn out to watch them."

Leijer said the timing of the match meant players needed to be "on their toes" in the off-season, particularly with a new coach at the helm.

The Victory are yet to confirm a replacement for sacked coach Ernie Merrick, with caretaker coach Mehmet Durakovic still in the running.

Club director Ian McLeod is believed to be in Britain interviewing a handful of other candidates.

Leijer said the club had been playing good football under Durakovic.

"I think we've shown in the past month we've played good football so if they go down the Mem (Durakovic) line it's completely up to them," he said.

"Mem's done a very good job but I'm not sure what the board's thinking.

"It's an exciting time for the club, there's a lot of changes and our first hit-out under a new regime will be against Celtic so it doesn't get much bigger."