West Ham United captain Mark Noble has lifted the lid on what he loves about the prospect of playing Scottish giants Celtic.
The Hammers return to Scotland – where former Celtic man David Moyes had taken his squad on a pre-season retreat recently – to play the Hoops this Saturday.
It marks a big step up in West Ham’s pre-season opposition having played lower league sides thus far.
But it comes at an awkward time for new Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou sandwiched in between the Bhoys’s crucial two-legged Champions League qualifier against Danish side Midtjylland.
Step up for Hammers but awkward timing for Champions League hopefuls Celtic
Celtic drew the first leg at Celtic Park 1-1 on Tuesday night.
As a result West Ham may face a weakened Celtic for the first clash between the clubs in 21 years. The Hammers last faced Celtic in a friendly back in the pre-season of 2000.
Then managed by Harry Redknapp, West Ham were beaten 2-1 at Parkhead with the likes of Frederic Kanoute and Paolo Di Canio in the side.
While Celtic may be weakened on the pitch they have been strengthened off it.
Increased number of fans will be music to the ears of West Ham skipper who reveals ‘amazing’ honour to play at Celtic Park
That will be music to the ears of West Ham skipper Noble.
The midfielder is entering his final season having played his entire career for West Ham barring a couple of loan spells as an academy youngster.
And he can’t wait to play at Celtic’s historic Paradise (whufc.com).
“It’s going to be amazing to play at Celtic Park for the first time in my career,” Noble told whufc.com.
‘I’m looking forward to getting out there on the pitch and taking it all in’
“Obviously it’s such a lovely place to go and play and I really enjoy going to Scotland – in fact, I was there three times in the summer!
“I went and played golf up there a couple of times and then obviously we went to St Andrews for our training camp and I loved it up there, and now we’re going up there again.
“Celtic Park is one of the most historic and atmospheric grounds around and although it won’t be full, I’m looking forward to getting out there on the pitch and taking it all in.”