Can we purge all negative overtones today, make sure we start tomorrow with a clean sheet? Injuries and suspensions are part of the game, we accept them and plan how to win important games.
Celtic are at their best when they are up against it, when everyone knows that nothing short of a herculean effort is required. This is the case tomorrow. The requirement is straightforward enough: win your personal battle, inhibit one of the best teams we will play this season, take control of midfield and find spaces in the Ajax defence to exploit.
We have more than enough players bursting to set about this task.
Ajax had a taxing game on Saturday, scoring late to secure a draw away to top of the table Twente. Although fourth, they are one of six teams no more than two points off the pace in what is currently one of Europe’s tightest leagues, but there is a fragility about Ajax.
The game against Twente was their first away match after a run of four home games, three of which were won comfortably, while they were denied a win against Milan by a ridiculous penalty in added time. Their away form, however, has been less than impressive; they are still waiting for their first win away from the Amsterdam ArenA this season. As a result, they travel to Celtic Park with the same trepidation they travelled to Groningen, Heerenveen, Twente, AZ, Barca and PSV, a series of games which returned three draws and three defeats.
Dutch media have also been reminding them of a quirky record to maintain. While Celtic eliminated Ajax the last twice the teams met in European Cup/Champions League duty, the Dutch avoided defeat on both games at Celtic Park. For us, this is a meaningless fact, but it is an added burden of expectation on Ajax.
[calameo code=00039017122aafd9859a6 lang=en page=126 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]