After nine consecutive years in the European Cup, Celtic’s first game in Europe’s second tournament saw them win 0-2 away to Valur in Iceland on their way to a 9-0 aggregate win. In more recent times, we faced KR Reykjavik in 2014 and Stjarnan a year later, both in Champions League qualification round 2.
Although the aggregate score across these Champions League qualifiers was 11-1, we had to wait until a minute before halftime to take the lead in the first leg at Celtic Park against Stjarnan. The Ronny Deila era got underway when our young right-winger, Callum McGregor, scored a memorable winner six minutes from time against KR.
I have no recollection of the Valur game and I suspect few of us remember Big Yogi hitting five in a 10-1 friendly win over Throttur from Iceland in 1962, but since then, games against the Icelanders have been turgid. Still, no complaints, we will not be remembered fondly for our adventurous play against Barcelona.
KR will have watched how Kilmarnock frustrated us and will attempt to do the same tonight. They will double up in the wings and pack their 18-yard line, venturing forward for free kicks and to support long punts in the direction of a sole striker. You and I will be on the edge of our seats until Celtic go two ahead. Between now and then, you can worry about Gibraltar, or maybe England’s elimination from Euro 2016. The warnings are out there.