A 2-0 lead from the first leg at home is a reliable indicator that you will progress to the next round in Europe. But make no mistake, AIK believe they have a chance of overhauling Celtic tonight.
Towards the end of last week’s first leg, AIK and Celtic both were content to settle on what they had. AIK were worried they would lose another goal and give themselves an impossible task, Celtic worried they would lose that crucial two-goal advantage.
On BBC news last night, James McFadden explained that Celtic were stronger than AIK in every department and should therefore go through. You and I have watched more of Celtic in Europe than the optimistic McFadden. We have schooled teams at Celtic Park before but looked like innocents abroad in the return leg. There is a lot of work to do tonight; we will need leaders throughout the team. There will be goals.
I see some of the dying media digging up Celtic for signing Moritz Bauer on loan, without mention of the fact that we have an option to buy the player. Celtic try to get this arrangement with every new signing. If they get a deal they are happy with, they will ask for a loan option, as they did with Odsonne Edouard.
There generally needs to be extenuating circumstances before the selling club agrees, in this case, Stoke City are financially motivated to get his significant wages off their books before Premiership parachute payments decline further.
By all accounts, he was a star at Rubin Kazan and during his six months in the Premiership with Stoke. We had a false start at right back with Jeremy Toljan, there are no guarantees in life, but on paper, I’m happy with this.
The Newco statement on their second citation from Uefa for sectarian offenses was clear. No equivocation on the nature of the offense, or whataboutery, just straightforward, “You are endangering your club” sentiment. The problem is, the perpetrators are not endangered. This is a free hit to them. That their club may sufferer is inconsequential.
The thin blue line may hold tonight, but there’s no chance of that being the case on Sunday. Scottish football may yet be shamed into action by Uefa, but you can count on a whole lot of whataboutery before then.