After being schooled at Celtic Park two weeks ago, Ferencvaros returned to Hungary to draw 0-0 at home to eighth place MTK Budapest, before getting some shooting practice by scoring seven in a cup game against a regional league struggler. Last weekend they won 0-2 at 11th Gyirmot, relying on two second half goals.
They have not been taxed since leaving Glasgow and scarcely had to defend a chance. They will be fresher than ‘our heroes who battled for a home draw against Livingston’, but this is not a team who are accustomed to questions being asked of them.
Wait for it: my biggest concern about tonight is the absence of Carl Starfelt – a phrase you didn’t expect to read a couple of months ago. Defending is all about strong systems and strong systems are built by custom and practice. The perpetual change in our back line and goalkeeper last season, brought about by so many abject performances, solved nothing and prevented play from looking remotely practiced.
Stephen Welsh has played against better opponents this season and will not be out of place in Budapest. Still, consistency of selection is worth a few percentage points.
A draw should be enough to qualify for the Europa Conference League. A win would make that secure and provide Ange with some midweek relief options in the critical weeks ahead. So win it, please, Celtic.