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Champions League Qualifying Third Round

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Champions League Qualifying Third Round

Van Dijk: We'll return better

Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk wants the team to return from the winter break refreshed and ready to continue their march to a third straight Scottish title.

Last Updated: 08/01/14 at 19:00 Post Comment

Virgil van Dijk: Hoping to feel refreshed after break

Virgil van Dijk: Hoping to feel refreshed after break

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The Hoops headed to Turkey on the back of a 20-game unbeaten run, after taking up the option of postponing their top-flight clash with Kilmarnock in favour of a sunshine break.

And Van Dijk hopes the Scottish champions reap the benefits of the warm-weather training when they resume league business upon their return.

The defender told CelticTV: "Hopefully we can keep the unbeaten run until the end of the season and not concede any goals for as long as possible.

"We will see what happens. We are 20 games unbeaten so it's good to come here on the back of that. We are relaxing and will enjoy the sun."

During their stay in the coastal resort, Celtic will take part in the Turkish Airlines Antalya Cup, and will play Trabzonspor before facing either Champions League group rivals Ajax or Galatasaray at the weekend.

Van Dijk added: "All the boys have played a lot of games. We have to take a rest now and we will take it.

"The weather is good. The sun is out and there are blue skies. It's much better than it was in Glasgow. It gets you smiling again and makes you happy.

"The conditions here are very good and we are looking forward to the game tomorrow night."

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Fraser Forster believes the character shown by Celtic in grinding out recent results has been impressive.

He said: "We've not been at our best over the last few weeks but we have ground out wins, which is the most important thing at the end of the day - picking up the three points.

"If you can perform well it's an added bonus and we have been pleased to keep the run going. We are high in confidence.

"We have picked up a lot more results following Champions League games than we did last year, so we have better experience there.

"Although we were disappointed by the Champions League, there was less of a hangover after it.

"We are a year older and a bit more experienced, obviously off the back of last season when we played Champions League games and then went into domestic games.

"Everyone has done well and contributed."

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