Rangers and Celtic heading to Dubai in January for winter training camps

Steven Gerrard's side will play a friendly match while in the UAE

Celtic players training in Dubai in 2017. Pawan Singh / The National
Celtic players training in Dubai in 2017. Pawan Singh / The National

Rangers followed Scottish rivals Celtic in confirming a New Year's trip to Dubai for warm weather training.

Steven Gerrard's side will be based at the Nad Al Sheba sports complex from January 6 to January 12 before the second half of their domestic season.

The club said their week in the sun will "culminate with a friendly match with more details to be provided in due course".

Celtic meanwhile will be making their fourth-consecutive winter visit to the Emirates, as the club said the training programmes are "hugely beneficial".

“We know that Dubai has worked very well for us before over the past few years," said manager Neil Lennon in September.

"It is somewhere that offers excellent facilities and delivers a really good training base at such an important time in the season, so we are delighted to be returning.”

While Celtic have yet to confirm their travel dates, they are without league or cup action after facing Rangers in the Scottish Premiership on December 29 until January 22, as the league enjoys a winter break.

So, it is conceivable that both clubs will be in the UAE at the same time. Could a friendly between the rivals be in the pipeline or will Rangers be facing a local team?

The Old Firm derby is one of the fiercest rivalries in world football and may be deemed unsuitable for what would ultimately be a fitness exercise in which both clubs would be looking to avoid injuries.

Arsenal teamed up with the Arabian Gulf League's Al Nasr for a friendly in Dubai in March as they worked on their fitness going into the final months of the Premier League season.

The game celebrated the official opening of the refurbished Al Maktoum Stadium.

Nasr vice-chairman Ahmed Al Khoory announced at the time that Arsenal would return to Dubai in February to take part in the Hamdan bin Rashid Challenge Cup.

Dubai's facilities have proven popular for England's top teams such as Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as European giants such as Juventus and Real Madrid.

United in particular have been regular visitors to the Nad Al Sheba complex with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer making the most of the pleasant conditions soon after taking over from Jose Mourinho almost a year ago.

Updated: November 6, 2019 03:40 PM

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