As news of the goal deluge from the Bernabeu arrived last night it must have caused some reflection at Celtic. Real Madrid thumped Malmo, our eliminators, 8-0. Malmo are not, after all, this season’s surprise packages.
European football is an unforgiving environment, not just for the minnows. Roma, who are currently second in their Champions League group, lost 6-1 in Barcelona two weeks ago. That result came on the back of Bayern Munich taking a 0-5 lead inside 36 minutes in front of 70,000 fans in Rome in last season’s tournament. Bayern went on to win 1-7 in what was supposed to be a game which changed Roma’s ways.
Roma are a good team, currently fourth in Serie A, but their expansive tendencies have earned them humiliating results against teams capable of exploiting them.
Rule No. 1 in Europe is to be defensively disciplined. If you don’t have that aspect of the game figures out, you are as well not competing.
While John Collins was no doubt sincere in saying he could see tonight’s game far enough, he should be relishing the opportunity to test his defence against a European team. This is our last chance before next season’s qualifiers. It is a precious occasion to test tactics.
Thanks to everyone who has bought Winds of Change, and for the fantastic feedback on what was an incredible era to be a Celtic supporter.