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The Nomads' Celtic Opposition, Ballymena United and St. Johnstone

Our Celtic Rivals

Date Published: Monday, 12th June, 2017 - 12:30pm

As The Nomads head into our second consecutive European campaign, the side are heading to Northern Ireland for the second time and are also heading north of the border to take on Scottish opponents in our warm up games ahead of the UEFA Europa League games.

First up are Ballymena United of the Northern Irish league - the side finished fourth in the Danske Bank Premiership in the 2016/17 campaign, just one point ahead of Cliftonville, whom The Nomads faced last pre-season as part of their Europa League warm up. The Sky Blues secured their place in the Europa League following a victory over Glenavon in the play-off final in early May. The result secured their first European appearance since 2004 when they took part in the now defunct Intertoto Cup.

The game takes place on Saturday, 17th June at Dixon Park, the home of Ballyclare Comrades and will see The Nomads fly out in the morning before returning home later that evening. Just two days later, The Nomads will find out who they are playing in the First Qualifying Round as the draw is made at UEFA Headquarters in Switzerland.

The following Saturday (24th) will then see The Nomads travel to Scotland to take on Scottish Premier League side, St Johnstone, who have also qualified for the UEFA Europa League having finished fourth in the SPL behind Celtic, Aberdeen and Rangers. St Johnstone's last appearance in the UEFA Europa League was in the 2015-16 campaign where they lost out on away goals to Armenian side Alashkert.

The game will mark the first occasion that The Nomads will face a Scottish side and will see two former Manchester City teammates go head to head as Andy Morrison and Tommy Wright manage their respective sides, both of whom spent time together at Maine Road during the 1998/99 season. Morrison made 39 appearances for City while Wright made just 29 and has since managed our other pre-season opponents, Ballymena for a spell between 2005-2008.

Ahead of the games, The Nomads can confirm that John Danby, George Horan, Declan Poole and Sean Smith have all signed new one year contracts with the Club.

Both Danby and Horan were named in the Welsh Premier League Team of the Season recently, while Poole was shortlisted for the WPL Goal of the Season for his strike against TNS. Smith meanwhile has been with The Nomads since the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign in his second spell with the Club and has made over 70 appearances for the team.

Ahead of the games, Andy Morrison commented to say "Both of the games will be against some very good opposition and it will be a great help for our preparation for the first leg of the Qualifying Rounds on the 29th June."


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