Preston North End boss hails trip north of the border as success after victory over Celtic

Frankie McAvoy has hailed Preston North End’s trip to Scotland a big success as they now set their sights on games closer to home.
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PNE rounded off their week north of the border by beating Celtic 1-0, a penalty from Ben Whiteman settling the contest at Celtic Park.

Earlier in the week they had drawn at St Johnstone, the friendlies coming between some hard work on the training pitch at St Andrews.

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It is back to match action tomorrow night when North End face Bolton Wanderers at Leyland’s County Ground.

Preston midfielder Izzy Brown slides to tackle Celtic’s Scott Robertson at Celtic ParkPreston midfielder Izzy Brown slides to tackle Celtic’s Scott Robertson at Celtic Park
Preston midfielder Izzy Brown slides to tackle Celtic’s Scott Robertson at Celtic Park

Another friendly has been slotted into the schedule for Saturday when they visit Accrington Stanley.

The win at Celtic was a big confidence booster, with a number of the home players who featured set to line up against Midtjylland in a Champions League qualifier tomorrow night.

PNE head coach McAvoy said: “The performance was probably a notch up on what we did at St Johnstone if I’m being honest.

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“The pitch was massive and the heat pretty heavy. We had watched Celtic quite a bit and knew we had to work hard and be structured.

“We had to be patient and when we got the ball, keep it for a spell and work ourselves up the pitch.

“I thought we were a bit unfortunate not to get a penalty early on for a foul on Scotty Sinclair – I thought it was a penalty kick.

“The pleasing thing was that Scotty got himself into that good position.

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“Ched Evans worked his socks off as usual, linking the ball and taking it in – he does that great for us.

“Brad Potts did well as a 10, while the wing-backs were as aggressive as they could be to get us forward.

“Sometimes you can be a bit biased towards yourself but I thought we had the better of the game and quite a lot of opportunities.

“Celtic had one or two moments which were scary for us towards the end but we came through.

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“We needed to be a bit more clinical and could have added one or two more goals.

“The task was to play well and get minutes into the legs, we did both of those things.”

Izzy Brown pulled on a PNE shirt for the first time, coming on as a 61st-minute sub.

The former Chelsea man had missed the first two friendlies with an injury.

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Matt Olosunde missed out at Celtic after getting a knock at St Johnstone.

Said McAvoy: “Matt got a kick on his Achilles tendon, so we’ve had to make sure we treated that one right.

“It was good to get Izzy on the pitch, he’s a quality player.

“He’s a wee bit it off at the moment after the injury but we’ll bide our time with him and get him up to speed.”