Dinamo Zagreb dropped points for the second time in 10 league games this season on Saturday when they drew a blank against bottom of the table Slaven Koprivnica. Slaven took only one point from five league games in August, and lost heavily to Zagreb on the opening day of the season, but have tightened up at the back in recent weeks. Parking the bus on Saturday was enough to curtail the Croatian champions.
That blank score line was a rarity for Dinamo, who had scored in all but one of this season’s 18 previous outings. After losing their first leg at home to Zagreb, Aalborg shut up shop in the Champions League qualifier in Croatia and overturned the first leg deficit.
So what can we expect on Thursday? We’ve kept only one clean sheet in the last 10 outings, and that was to lower league Hearts, who missed a penalty and struck the crossbar. Looking at Celtic’s defensive record, Dinamo will fancy their chances of getting a goal. Like most teams away from home in Europe, they will plan to defend first and foremost, and take their chances on the break.
Having collected a vital point away to the top seed on match day one, the group opens up for Celtic if they can beat Zagreb this week, but how should they go about achieving this? If St Mirren, Motherwell, Dundee and Inverness can score against Celtic, Dinamo Zagreb will do so, unless Celtic protect their back line considerably better than they have so far this season. Celtic are likely to need to score two or more to win the game. Without Goals Guidetti, this sounds like a big challenge.
Going on form, it’s in Celtic interests to ensure this is a tight game, deny Dinamo space to break into, and use their own speed to attack when opportunity arises. We’ll need to hold the ball, and that means Kris Commons will have to play, no matter how fit he is, but I would be tempted to give him a deeper role than usual. Johansen and Brown have critical roles to play in protecting the defence but they will need Commons available to bring calm to proceedings.
I see The Telegraph have taken a punt on Craig Whyte, et al’s, Worthington Group being in sufficient funds to mount their threatened legal challenge to Sevco Scotland Ltd, now known as Rangers International PLC, for acquiring the legal entitlement of Sevco 5088 Ltd. Sevco 5088 had irrefutable entitlement to the assets of liquidated Rangers FC but this entitlement was assumed by Sevco Scotland, then owned and controlled by Charles Green.
Green and Craig Whyte both claimed to control Sevco 5088 when the company’s entitlement was assumed by the other company. So what does all this mean? There’s nothing in The Telegraph story that we didn’t know two years ago. Even if a journo had first-hand information from a prime source, you’d have to wonder what value you could invest in what any of these characters say.
Until Our Hero spins the roulette wheel at the Ibrox Casino, everyone’s chasing shadows on this one.[calameo code=0003901718cdc4362fa2e? lang=en page=4 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]