by Joe McHugh Tony Mowbray is hoping that a day at the races can help build momentum into Celtic’s troubled season.
Aiden McGeady led a group of ten Celts to Cheltenham on Wednesday with Mowbray looking to reap the benefits tomorrow against St Johnsone.
Celtic face St Johnstone, St Mirren and Kilmarnock in the space of eight days with the hoops boss looking to build on back-to-back wins away to Falkirk and Kilmarnock.
Mowbray told Channel 67: “The balance of my job is making sure that everything is done properly and disciplined but also letting the players know that we have their welfare at heart.
“We have to make sure that they are in the best frame of mind for football matches as well as physically ready to play.
“There’s always a balance there, you can’t train them every single day. You can’t run them into the ground.
“They have to be happy and content with the preparation for the matches that come along.
“Sometimes on the back of an intense run of games it’s not bad to relieve the pressure on them by getting them away from the training ground for a few days- let them go and relax.
“It’s even better if they can be together and nine or ten of them were at the races this week, hopefully they’ve had a relaxing time and now it’s back to work and get ready for the weekend.”
While his players battled with the bookies Mowbray’s attention was on the Champions League.
Celtic lost out to Arsenal in the qualifying stage but the Parkhead boss can’t get enough top level football.
Watching Inter Milan and Barcelona on successive nights is a world away from facing Falkirk and Kilmarnock but Mowbray likes nothing better than watching the best of the best in the hope of picking up something that he can bring to Celtic.
He added: “I wouldn’t dream of missing the chance to watch Barcelona, they won the Champions League last season and it’s inspirational watching the way that they play.
“We can’t try to play like they do but we can try to emulate the philosophy of a club like that.
“As a football club we should strive to entertain like they do, they fill the stadium and their supporters want to come and see the superstar footballers.
“Everything seems to be on an upward spiral for them and that’s what all clubs should try to achieve. To put teams on the pitch that the fans love to watch.
“A winning team where they look at their star players and idolise them. It was a great night for watching Barcelona playing open attractive football.
“They are a well organised, well drilled team but the individual talent of certain players can undo teams.”
Mowbray added: “We strive to be the best that we can but sometimes that is very difficult- football teams ebb and flow- you can’t maintain the highest standards over 90 minutes.
“Any successful team works hard and is made up of components, we have three or four footballers whose main attribute is to entertain, to beat men and try to score goals. Players who are clever with the ball.
“We also ask them to give everything for the team and that’s the balance that we are looking for, team players with that extra talent to create and entertain.”