Celtic's Adam Matthews eyes regular start at right back

Adam Matthews is hoping to play Champions League group stage football this season again with Celtic
Celtic full back Adam Matthews is targeting a place in the Champions League group stage

Adam Matthews is hoping for an injury-free season as he bids to make the right back slot his own at Celtic.

The Welshman endured a frustrating campaign last term due to shoulder and hamstring problems, often having to watch on from the sidelines as his side secured the Scottish Premiership title.

"I had a lot of niggly injuries so it was a disappointing season for me but a great one for the team," he said.

"I'm just hoping to get a good pre-season and kick on."

The 22-year-old is, however, well aware earning a regular starting slot in his favoured role will not be easy.

"The right-back position is really strong just now with Mikael Lustig and Darnell Fisher there, so I know what I have to do to get in the team," Matthews told the Celtic website.

"It's good to have competition, though, because it keeps you sharp in training. If you have a bad week you know you won't be playing at the weekend.

"Luckily for us we have that in every position. It makes the training much more competitive.

"Last season I actually played left-back a couple of times as well as right midfield. Wherever I'm asked to play I'll do my best but right-back is my best position."

Celtic flew to Austria on Sunday for a pre-season training camp ahead of the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik in Iceland on 15 July.

With the club aiming for their third straight season in the group stages of Europe's elite club competition, Matthews knows the squad face a race against time to prepare under new manager Ronny Deila.

"It is hard when the qualifiers come so early but it's what we have to do," he added.

"We did it last year and we did it well. That's why we're in as early as we are this time again. We need to be up and running straight away.

"This is the first time I've been at a club when the manager has changed. It has been fine, though.

"Every manager's different. We do more passing drills and more shape. I think he wants us to play more from the back so that's what we've been doing in training."