It’s that time of year again, and Celtic kick off their season tonight with the home leg of a UCL qualifier against Midtyjlland of Denmark.
Wish it was Ajax. Far easier to spell.
The media are already praying for disaster, with Keith Jackson of the Record trying to plant the idea that Ange Postecoglou will be annoyed with Dominic Mckay should things go wrong in the tie.
Should it all go wrong for Ange Postecoglou against the Danes, McKay’s bottom line is in for a pounding.
As much as £40million is about to go on the line here but the big Aussie goes into this tie with hands tied behind his back given the lamentable lack of forward planning which has coincided with the handover of power from the imperious Peter Lawwell.
Frankly, all I..and probably you…care about is that the team gels sooner rather than later and Celtic are playing some sort of group stage football until christmas.
None of the blame for the current mess lies with either of those two, but they are playing the hand they’ve been dealt, which could turn out to be to our advantage.
If we don’t know who or how Ange will play it tonight, then neither will the Danes.
That should give us enough time to put the game, and possibly even the tie, to bed.
Optimism ahead of realism ?
From Ange’s post Preston match demeanour, you could tell he was disappointed, and no wonder, but with such a monumental game afterwards, players minds would have been elsewhere.
To be disappointed after a friendly is no bad thing, it shows he has high standards, and it will be a few weeks yet before he realises exactly which players share them.
With Barkas the number one choice in goal, it remains to be seen who plays in front of him, or indeed how many play in front of him.
With Kris Ajer off to Brentford he won’t be there, and the swiftness with the decision to sell him shows that unrest won’t be tolerated. Ajer will have plenty of time to wonder if he could have joined a bigger club had he waited and played his part at Celtic.
That might also have others such as Ryan Christie and Oddsone Edoaurd pausing for thought, but they both need to show much more if they aren’t to end up at a Fulham or a Watford.
As it stands, we’ll have to wait and see which way the manager plays it, and he’ll know who he can rely on, so if it’s one of those team selections that has you scratching your head, you can be assured he’ll have his reasons.
although the money is better in the champions League, a lot of it is down to gate receipts , and with the plague still in town, it’s unlikely there would have been any full houses before christmas anyway, so not qualifying isn;t as much of a hit as it would have been ordinarily.
Maybe it is better to rack up a few co efficient points in a lesser tournament to ensure that Scotland retains an automatic qualifying spot for when ange has got the players and the style he’s working towards.
sometimes you have to take a step back to take two forward….
Should Celtic triumph against the Danes, then either PSV Eindhoven or Galatasaray lie in wait.
Defeat means a Europa tie against Jablonec of Czechia.
Unlike when Gordon Strachan took charge , defeat doesn’t end our European adventure, and lets face it, we’re not ready to compete in the UCL yet. There’s no shame in that, as long as it can be seen we are working towards it.
And early signs are good, with a couple of players brought in who look like they are hungry enough and talented enough to build the new team around.
Of course, I’d rather we qualify, it would speed up the learning process, but if we don’t , its not the end of the world.
One wonders of all the pressure being placed on Celtic is to deflect from problems at Ibrox…it usually is.
It may just be that the papers won;t pay the money demanded by the Ibrox entity for coverage, and of course, the media won’t mention that.
Or will they mention that Conor Goldson, their central defender, won;t sign a new contract, and has told friends he intends to run the current one down because “rangers ” blocked his move to West Brom a while back…or that a couple of others aren;t happy, a result of the FTP singing which was promptly swept under the carpet.
And then there’s Alfredo Morelos…in fact there will always be Alfredo Morelos, because no one wants him, certainly not at the asking price, and the same goes for Glen Kamara, hyped way beyond his ability, and appearing to believe it, he seems to think he’s destined for a big money move, but again, suitors are in short supply.
We have our problems, but we have a man who, given time, can sort them.
They’ve got Steven Gerrard, who managed to win one trophy out of three when his major rival was on its knees.
They’re terrified of what might happen this season, hence the stories of unrest at Celtic.
Keep the faith, it’s going to be worth it.