Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy has got family ties to Celtic
Preston North End’s friendly at Celtic today will stir plenty of happy memories for Frankie McAvoy.
The Lilywhites head to Glasgow as they bring the curtain down on their Scottish training camp.
Awaiting them at Parkhead (5.30pm) are a Celtic side who finished runners-up in the Scottish Premiership last season.
McAvoy was brought up as Celtic supporter – his father was a coach there – but one of his biggest moments in football came against them.
PNE head coach McAvoy told the Lancashire Post: “My dad coached at Celtic for many years. When I was a kid they were who I was brought up to support.
“When I moved to work at Hamilton Accies with Alex Neil, we had a great day at Celtic Park.
“We won 1-0 and it was the first time Hamilton had beaten Celtic there for 76 years. Winning took us to the top of the Premier League in Scotland.
“To be fair, that was one of the results that helped Alex and myself move south.
“That was in October 2014 and in January 2015, Alex got the Norwich job.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Celtic, there are a lot of guys I know. It’s a fantastic stadium with lots of good people.”
PNE have been based at St Andrews since last Sunday, with them training at the town’s university.
McAvoy was keen to take the squad away for a few days and thinks the time in Scotland has proved extremely worthwhile.
The only thing which came as a surprise was how good the weather has been.
Said McAvoy: “It’s been a bit warmer than I thought it would be, the weather has been lovely. The sun has been out most days and the lads have worked really hard every day.
“The East Neuk of Fife where we’ve been is a lovely area and St Andrews is a very historic place.
“We’ve trained at the university which has some great facilities. The only issue is the pitches were a bit firmer than we hoped because of the warmer weather and not having any rain.”
McAvoy had mixed feelings about his side’s 1-1 draw with St Johnstone in midweek and says there are aspects of the display which he wants to see done better.
“We were a bit tippy-tappy along the back if I’m being honest,” said McAvoy.
“St Johnstone played 3-4-3 and their front three dropped off, leaving our centre-backs with a lot of the ball.
“We didn’t really penetrate enough going forward until we made some adjustments.
“I want to see us move the ball with more purpose, play at a good tempo.”