Brendan Rodgers expecting a tough test from Kenny Millar’s side

Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers.
Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers.

Celtic legend Danny McGrain will unfurl the League Championship flag on Saturday afternoon prior to the opening Premiership fixture of the season with newly-promoted Livingston as visitors.

A Champions League qualifying journey to Athens to face AEK awaits in midweek – but for Brendan Rodgers the priority first and foremost will be securing all three points against a team now managed by a certain Kenny Miller.

The Parkhead boss may have enjoyed unprecedented success during his two years in the East End of Glasgow – but he dismisses the suggestion that ‘Livvie’ will simply be ‘cannon fodder’ for his team.

“Teams that have come up will look to impose their game so - all in all - it’ll make for a very exciting season,” he said.

“It’ll be competitive again, like it’s been the two years we’ve been here - but it’s not just about defending the title for us, we have to win it. It’s a really competitive League.

“It’s obviously very early but we are clearly focused on winning as many games as we possibly can, we enter every tournament to win.”

The perfectionist that is Rodgers continues to strive for continuity and advancement, whilst being realistic.

“There’s always room for improvement of course - and we aim to improve in every facet of our game,” he said.

“The first season we won 34 of our 38 games. It was an incredible season and that’s why it goes down in history.

“It was always going to be difficult to replicate that - but we still ended up with three trophies and qualification to the Champions League, which was another fantastic year for us. This year we’ve got to keep developing and we need to score more goals.”

Livingston under former manager David Hopkins came up via the Play-Offs and enjoyed – if that is the right word – a reputation as a direct, solid and hard-working if brutal side.

It will be intriguing to see how Kenny Miller will have developed the squad - the player-manager is vastly experienced but this will be a baptism of fire for the former ‘Old Firm’ striker.

For Celtic, Moussa Dembele remains an injury absentee but Leigh Griffiths is now available whilst Jozo Simunovic returns having missed both ties with Rosenburg Trondheim through suspension.