Malmo vulnerabilities and likely game-plan


Since winning at top of the table Gothenburg on 12 April, Malmo have played 9 away games. They beat Lithuanians, Zalgiris, their first Champions League opponents and won at 8th placed Gelfe, but they could only manage draws away to 13th Falkenberg, 15th, Orebro and 16th (bottom) Atvidaberg.

They lost away to 8th placed Gelfe, 11th placed Kalmar, and Salzburg in the previous Champions League qualifying round. They think they can perform miracles at home, but confidence and form on the road is at rock bottom. One away win in over four months of domestic football is nothing short of a crisis for the defending champions – and they play through the summer in Sweden.

Not only that, but they are without two suspended players on Wednesday. Midfielder, Enoch Kofi was ordered off against Salzburg but Malmo’s biggest worry is the suspension to talismanic striker, Markus Rosenberg.

Rosenberg, 32, re-joined Malmo last year after a career which took him to Ajax, Werder Bremen, Racing Santander and West Brom. He’s scored in each of his last three outings, including one against Salzburg and one against Gothenburg.  It’s no understatement to say there is real anxiety at his absence.  Rosenberg’s form has masked a fragility which only a month ago brought innuendo from the coach, Age Hareide, and chairman, Hakan Jeppsson.  The latter claiming the total value of the team was less than its constituent parts, with Hareide making oblique comments about where his players’ thoughts lie.

The more I learn about them, Malmo sound like they could crack under some sustained Celtic Park pressure.

They know lots about Celtic and, with form and suspensions, they will come to mix it physically and plan to break with pace in the hope of snatching a goal. Such is the difference in their home and away form (the have won their last four home games, scoring 10 and conceding only once), a two goal defeat tomorrow night would be viewed with encouragement in Sweden.

Malmo are aware of Celtic’s threat in the air, specifically from set-pieces.  They will deploy three central defenders in a back five, in an attempt to subvert the way Qarabag and Inverness were overcome at Celtic Park recently.  One of the central defenders is certain to be Kari Arnason, 32, who left Aberdeen after a single season three years ago, on a free to then-League Two Rotherham.

This, together with a desire to break with pace, will be the essence of their game plan.  They expect Nadir Ciftci to lead the line.  If he does, the biggest part of his evening may be to occupy a clutch of defenders, creating space for others to exploit.

Kalmar have won only twice since beating Malmo in May.  Jo Inge Berget opened the scoring for Malmo in the 11th minute, but the champions collapsed late on, under pressure from Kalmar and their 7,800 fans.

We’ve faced Swedish champions twice in the last four years.  Kris Commons scored the first goal in each of the ties.  The script is written, Celtic.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about Hareide’s belief that the threat from Celtic comes mostly from the stands, not from the players……..

You’ll have noticed it’s back to school week.  There will be a collection of old/used backpacks and school bags for Mary’s Meals to take to Malawi, outside Celtic Park, before the St Johnstone game on 29 August.  If you have any lying around, hold onto them and bring them to the game, I’ll remind you closer to the time.

We have another bumblebee top to give away, courtesy of Magners.  Competition will start and end tomorrow, so look out for it!

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    ‘ We are in a position to be able to asses our options and bring in the players that Ronny wants…’












    Interesting spelling mistake there. See if you can spot it.







    Wee clue-you and Thompson Twin are a right pair of…

  2. Paul67:


    Malmo will be a tough game, home and away but we will win through.


    On aside, don’t want Gary Hooper back…


    Keep the Faith!


    Hail Hail!

  3. I’d go with Ciftci tomorrow night – let him tire them out and let Leigh run riot in the last 30 mins. I hope the crowd is patient, we’re not going to blow them out of the water with 3 centre backs.

  4. ‘The worst professional,i have ever worked with…..’- said recently by an EPL manager about an ex Celtic player-as told to a friend’s son a couple of weeks ago….

  5. Delaneys Dunky on

    Hope we go for the jugular from first whistle tomorrow. An early goal to settle the nerves please.

  6. Captain Beefheart on

    No thanks to Cifci. Hasn’t played much. Doesn’t score goals. A dream for the Malmo defence.



    Must be Grif. Don’t want GMS either. Forrest please.



    No excuses. They are mediocre.

  7. BMCUW



    In fairness he joined a club always likely to be up and down from the EPL, He’s simply not fit enough for Celtic Norwich got relegated in his first injury hit year, and he’s never looked like an EPL player.



    His Celtic ship has sailed, and EPL type wages which called him away in the first place are more likely to be in the Championship.



    Most Celtic fans understand that Celtic are paying the maximum they can, in both the transfer maarket, and the subsequently inextricably linked salary



    E.g. £2m player = 15k per week max £4m player = 25k per week max



    These figures are approx, but the formula is correct.



    It’s not rocket salad and it baffles me why the agenda pushers, persist in asking for money, that is no longer there, and money they no longer, or have no intention of contributing towards.



    We don’t even get Robbie Keane type gazebo type loan signings, never mind gazebo signings, though I expect we’ll get some movement if we qualify for the CL.



    It’s all in the club accounts and open for public scrutiny.

  8. Eyes Wide Open on

    My main concern is we play against Malmo at home like we did Qarabac – cautiously.



    They have shown they are too potent and able to get results not expected of them at home, when they have to (remind you of anyone??)



    We need to assume we need a 2 goal cushion minimum because of the onslaught we will face against opponents who have the privilege of being able to play at home as if its a cup final.

  9. The Battered Bunnet on

    Hate to say it Paul, but you seem to be underestimating Malmo. Their early season form was poor, granted, but their results over the past 4 weeks have been good to excellent.



    This is a Champions League Play Off. I’d put our chances of winning through the tie at just a little better than 50:50.




    Agree re Forrest:



    CG; ML, DB, VVD, EI; NB, SB; JF, SJ, SA; NC for me though



    just think the ball has a tendency to bounce off Griffiths in Europe – we’ve got limited data to go on but seems he fancies Ciftci to hold it up better.

  11. Wednesday 29 August 2012



    AGE Hareide believes Helsingborgs can go to Parkhead and overturn the 2-0 deficit in the second leg of the Champions League play-off tonight because they were “better than Celtic at everything” in the first game in Sweden last week.

  12. Captain Beefheart on

    Malmo have had one very good result. Against Red Bull – a team much hyped on CQN but one which flops in CL qualifications.



    They aren’t up to much. Their mainman won’t be playing.



    We complain about these qualifying ties but we should thank Mr Platini.



    Season defining game. Blow it and we have blown an exciting season. if we win we will have much to anticipate.

  13. embramike says "the Huns are Deid" on

    Phil MacGiollaBhain retweeted


    Inside The SPFL ‏@AgentScotland 2h2 hours ago



    Celtic have made an official £2.8m approach for Jozo Simunovic, the very fact Lawwell travelled to Croatia tells you they must be confident

  14. Sorry if this takes away from the build up to the Malmo game, but I was just thinking that some of our legal minds might help me to understand if our so called journalists could be deemed to have committed an offence against the OB Act. I quote part of the section on threatening communications.



    Threatening communications


    (1)A person commits an offence if—


    (a)the person communicates material to another person, and


    (b)either Condition A or Condition B is satisfied.


    (2)Condition A is that—


    (a)the material consists of, contains or implies a threat, or an incitement, to carry out a seriously violent act against a person or against persons of a particular description,


    (b)the material or the communication of it would be likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm, and


    (c)the person communicating the material—


    (i)intends by doing so to cause fear or alarm, or


    (ii)is reckless as to whether the communication of the material would cause fear or alarm.

  15. Lennybhoy, agree it will be tough. Big task ahead.



    There’s always a hope of recruiting better than Hooper, but there’s also the realisation that we’ve seriously underachieved in that objective over the last two years.



    TBB, the Swedish journo I spoke to said Salzburg were beyond complacent two weeks ago in Malmo. They played on the attack, allowed Malmo to counter, and didn’t defend with anything like the numbers or attention required.



    Not disrespecting what they’ve one recently, but form remains varied, and away form remains poor.



    I’ve also read a lot of what Malmo think about Celtic. They see nothing but lots of fans intimidating opponents, no credit to the players. I suspect they have completely misread a few lines……..

  16. Svensk Hatt



    Age Hareide feels that Salzburg are a better side than Celtic. Even so, he is not willing to rate his side’s chances of progression as any higher than 50-50

  17. As always my expectations are high.



    I expect Celtic to win every game and competition we play in.



    I expect us to beat Malmo home and away.



    i expect us to be playing in Milan at the end of May.



    Thankfully I am not daft enough to expect my expectations will come true.



    Philbhoy. Saw a couple of notes to you. hope all is well with olivia, your good lady and you. Drop me an email buddy.




    MWD said AYE

  18. Very very limited internet past couple of weeks so only picking up bits and pieces…



    What’s the story with denayer ? Is he on brink of return or is that load of balloni …



    Who’s the Croatian Lawell is supposed to be away to meet ..centre half of striker ?



    Reading the article paul67 would you not be tempted with 2 up top and maybe back 3 of mulgrew vvd and lustig ?



    Can’t see it happening but I think it’s worth a go some week at home.

  19. Proudbhoy – some information on Jozo Simunovic




    HRVATSKI JIM on 18TH AUGUST 2015 10:38 AM


    Several reports today linking us with Jozo Simunovic.



    It is interesting that he is under contract to June 2020. Zagreb must have had a lot of faith in him as a young player to give out that length of contract. He has Champions League experience but has only player 53 times in total for DZ by the age of 21 and only 10 league appearances last season so he is not a real regular yet in their first team.



    HITC reports:


    Simunovic, 21, has come up through the ranks with Croatia’s biggest club Dinamo Zagreb, and is the latest player on their production line of talent, following in the footsteps of Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren, Luka Modric, Alen Halilovic, Mateo Kovacic, Niko Kranjcar and Andrej Kramaric.



    Not a bad group to follow.




    I would like to get a report on him from my best football supporting fried in Croatia but he is a passionate Hajduk Split fan and is likely to be uncomplimentary about any DZ player.






  20. the hooped crusader on

    This mob like to bump their gums, let’s shut them up tomorrow night.


    Not many of their players will have played in an arena like Celtic park. I’m usually cautious in these qualifiers but have s good feeling about tomorrow. Let’s blow the roof of tomorrow and get this mob pumped.


    Wee Griff to start for me and Broony bossing the midfield.



    GB tifo.


    Walk on.


    Celtic symphony.


    2-0 up after fifteen minutes.


    Celtic park rocking.


    Butterflies already,,,,,,,,,,,,, and breathe.

  21. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Lots of rumours about various players coming to Celtic but it will be the players already at Parkhead who will have to defeat Malmo if we wish to get into the CL proper.I would go for Griffiths tomorrow night as he is more likely to score than Cifti and we need goals.I doubt if Commons will be fit but James Forrest must be worth a place and our Centre Backs have to cut out the errors the game last until the refs whistle so no switching off later in the game I think we can get a narrow lead to take to Sweden but it is a finely balanced tie. H.H.


    DESERTBHOY on 18TH AUGUST 2015 12:38 PM












    It’s close,but it’s not right…

  23. Many happy returns to Lennybhoy.


    The good Tim with a finger on the


    pulse of who’s coming & going through


    the revolving door at Celtic Park.





    You raise a very good point,mate. Some of the stuff printed in the last few days has been truly disgraceful. Inflammatory,even.



    Reminiscent of,as has been said before,’he brings it on himself’



    Which was translated,as it was meant to be,as-fill yer boots,boys,free rein,let him have it.



    They have learned nothing,and care less.

  25. Nothing about Malmo gives me cause for pessimism.Their results this year tells you all you need to know about them.If we were going into this game with their form so far,I WOULD be worried.Too many fans looking at the Red Bull result.They are a poor team this year.Even so,they could,with a bit better luck,and finishing,won by 4 or 5 in Austria.Their coach was furious with the way they went about the game in Sweden.


    A fantastic opportunity for us to go into the groups.

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