Efe in no need of a holiday

Celtic defender Efe Ambrose believes his apparent indefatigability can be explained in the most simple way - "because I am Efe".

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Efe Ambrose and Nir Biton invite fans to own a piece of history at a refurbished Celtic Park
Efe Ambrose and Nir Biton invite fans to own a piece of history at a refurbished Celtic Park

Due in part to his international duties with Nigeria, the 25-year-old defender has had a hectic schedule since joining the Hoops in 2012 from Israeli club FC Ashdod, and he will be at the World Cup in Brazil this summer when the Parkhead players return for pre-season training.

Last week, manager Neil Lennon confirmed he will again give his regular starters a holiday before the end of the season with a view to their early return for the Champions League qualifiers, which start in July.

However, Ambrose, speaking at Celtic Park where he was publicising a scheme to allow fans to buy personalised paving stones at the club's refurbished stadium entrance, does not want to take his boss up on the offer.

Asked why he did not need a rest, he smiled and replied: "Because I am Efe.

"I like playing football. I enjoy it. It is the first thing I think about.

"Sometimes the body needs a rest but I try not to in case I get used to it."

While the rest of the Hoops players are looking forward to recharging the batteries before another tilt at the Champions League next season, Ambrose believes preparations for the qualifiers should already be under way.

He said: "We have to prepare for the Champions League from now.

"It has never been easy and qualifying for the group stages is the most important thing for us. So there is no time for a rest.

"If you don't prepare you will not be in the group stages."

The amiable African is looking forward to Nigeria's friendly against Scotland at ­Craven Cottage on May 28, which is part of the ­Super Eagles' preparations for Brazil.

He could come up against Celtic team- mates Scott Brown, Charlie Mulgrew, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths, but he declined to play the diplomatic card when asked his prediction.

"Can they beat us is the question, but I don't think so," he said. "We argue about it but I don't think so."

Ambrose was also at odds with his Israeli team-mate Beram Kayal, who this week criticised the technical standard of the game in Scotland.

"For me it is a brilliant league and I am becoming a better player here, and they are helping me to become a better player than I was when I was in Israel."


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