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Murphy happy to be back on duty

Celtic players returned for pre-season training on Wednesday with striker Daryl Murphy happy to get the first day's work under his belt.

The club's Lennoxtown training complex sparked back in to life as most of Neil Lennon's squad began preparations for the forthcoming campaign. The Hoops players who were on international duty at the end of last season have a few extra days off but Murphy was in from the start.

"It's good to get back into it because you want to get your fitness levels up so you can look forward to the games again," the Irishman told the club's official website.

He added: "I've missed it, but to be honest it's only been four weeks so it's not really much of a break.

"I think it was just long enough, though, because any longer than that and it would have started feeling strange without it.

"Everyone dreads pre-season, except the few, like Cha (Du-ri), who actually enjoy it. He's an exceptional runner so it's easy for him.

"But I'm always wary of the first day because it's usually very hard. It was tough going but that's just to see where you are really. I felt good, though, so it's a good sign."

Celtic head to Australia on Sunday where they will continue their pre-season preparations with three games, and with the Dublin Cup to follow at the end of the month, Murphy is looking forward to a busy July.

"It's always good to get back to Ireland and see the fans over there because there's a big connection between them and Celtic," he said.

"There will definitely be a good crowd at the games in the Aviva Stadium. There always are when we play over there and this will be no different. It will be a good tournament. We'll be facing a tough Inter Milan side and the league of Ireland game will be very interesting too."

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