CLACH’S players are "champing at the bit" to be in the team to face Celtic in this weekend’s glamour friendly at Grant Street, Inverness, according to boss Iain Polworth.
The Hoops’ SPL Under-20 title winners, as well as a few senior stars, are expected to head to the Highland League ground this Saturday, and the Lillies players can’t wait to pits themselves against one of Scotland’s most decorated teams on a day when the new "Clean Sweep" Enclosure – named after the stunning Clach side of 1947/48 – is officially opened.
Boss Iain Polworth said: "The players are all excited, some more than others obviously because we’ve got a few Celtic fans in the squad, but it’s definitely something to look forward to.
"Brian Macleod and Scott Graham are just two who are champing at the bit. Celtic are a big club and we’re delighted to have the chance to play against them, it’s a nice reward for all the lads’ hard work from last season."
"We’re expecting them to bring a strong side, made up of a lot of players on the fringes of the first-team.
"Hopefully we’ll get a large turn-out because there’s big Celtic support in Inverness."
Meanwhile Polworth has secured the signing of former Caley Thistle youngster Martin Laing, a deal he believes is a big coup for the club.
The 19-year-old midfielder made the bench on a handful of occasions, including last season’s final day Highland derby, but didn’t make an appearance for the Caley Jags.
Polworth said; "I’m delighted he’s joined. He’s a midfield player with great energy who always wants to get on th ball and he’ll work well in tandem with the players we have."
The Clach side to face Celtic will be missing Struan Scott-Woodhouse, Paul Brindle and Chris Ross, with all three players still nursing injuries picked up towards the end of last season, while Scott Graham faces a race to be fit to play against the club he supports.
The Highland News Group’s "Clean Sweep" campaign helped Clach raise £30,000 in just nine weeks, with the Scottish Football Partnership, Highland Council and numerous firms and individuals contributing.
Lochcarron Metal Work have been busy constructing the enclosure this week and it’s expected to be complete by tomorrow (Friday). Vice chairman Peter Corbett said the club are "optimistic" that safety documents and clearance will be granted in time for Saturday’s 3pm kick-off. Admission prices are £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.