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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  1. WilliamKentigern67 on

    Still getting to grips with the blog. Plenty of Celtic news now easily accessible. Looking forward to tonight’s game. If we finish a better % of chances we should get the 2 or 3 goals we need. A good defensive display and we will be in a strong position for the 2nd leg.




  2. I believe we will click tonight. You just sometimes get the feeling. Hopefully a full house to roar the bhoys to victory and establish ourselves as a cl force again. 3-0 Mon the hoops HH

  3. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    Is Ronny-D going for Ciftci against Malmo?






    It seems that he (RD) is using CL qualifiers to give Ciftci match time so that he can be fully integrated when his SPFL ban ends.



    Strange, but true?

  4. Goooooooooooooooooooood morning……………………………..where’s all the moon howlers gone?

  5. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    Celtic are confident they can persuade Manchester City starlet Brandon Barker to join them on loan for the rest of the season.



    The England Under-19 winger is reportedly unsure about his next career move, having recently penned a new five-year deal with the Citizens. Barker is tipped for big things and was poised to join Leeds United last month until the Yorkshire club demanded City also handed them a purchase option.



    The 18-year-old has been the stand-out figure for City’s Elite Development Squad under coach Patrick Vieira over the past 12 months. It is understood Barker has a number of loan offers on the table but Celtic is seen as an attractive destination by both City and the player.

  6. Burnley78 on 18th August 2015 11:35 pm


    Suggestions for CQN folk for celtic bars in Hong Kong for what will be a 2.45am kick off here ?





    You should try to contact the South China Hong Kong Celtic Supporters Club, great bunch that I had the pleasure of joining up with a few years ago when I lived out there. Believe they now move bars, you might want to try “Gweilo Bar & Grill” or “the white Stag”. Hope you find a place!

  7. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    Ronny-D’s thoughts on Malmo……….



    ‘I know what Age (Hareide) is coming here with and he has played against my systems before as well,



    ‘I know that when we play our system that well, it is not possible to stop us.



    He knows as well.



    So it’s more about getting what we believe in out there on the pitch.”



    ‘I know if we play our system well, we will always get opportunities and be hard to play against.



    ‘We are just at the start of building the system but we have come quite far over the past year and that is giving me a lot of confidence going into these games.’



    ‘They have made a couple of good signings and they are better than they were two months ago,’



    ‘They beat Salzburg again, although I don’ t know how good Salzburg are compared to last year.


    ‘We will get the answers on Wednesday night.



    ‘In Malmo’s best periods, they could challenge Celtic for the title if they were playing in the Scottish league.


    ‘But they couldn’t do it for a long time.



    The money and stability is much better at Celtic and we are a much bigger club than Malmo.



    ‘If I had to choose between the Malmo squad and my squad, I would choose my squad.



    We are individually stronger than them.’

  8. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    Jason Denayer looked poised to break into the Manchester City first team this season.



    Following a highly successful loan spell at Scottish Champion Celtic and an outstanding preseason, the 20 year-old Belgian International was moved to the first team just two weeks ago.



    However, should Manchester City complete the transfer that would bring Valencia’s Nicolas Otamendi to Eastlands, the Blues will have a glut of central defenders.



    That likely means Denayer is headed out the door on loan again. Denayer’s agent Jesse de Preter told the Manchester Evening News that if Otamendi arrives at City options will have to be assessed.



    De Preter said: “He was not in the selection against Chelsea but that was no surprise to us,” said the agent.



    “But if City gets a defender, that’s it. They had promised us that no more defenders of that calibre would come. That does worry me. For now, we do not panic.



    “Two weeks ago City wanted him absolutely not let go. That would still say they believe in him. But this should not take too long.



    If he is to sit on the bench or in the stands, he leaves.



    That’s an agreement we have with the club.



    He has to play, also with a view to the national team. But I repeat, that is not yet on the agenda. Jason also remains calm.”



    Denayer has recently broken into the full Belgian National Team squad and now has three caps for his nation.

  9. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is not expecting miracles from mercurial midfielder Tom Rogic, who appears finally over his injury troubles and poised for his first national team cap in over a year.



    Rogic has been rewarded for a strong start to the Scottish Premier League season with Celtic with selection in Postecoglou’s 23-man squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh and Tajikistan.



    The 22-year-old was once held up as Australia’s pre-eminent wunderkind, but chronic groin issues over the last two seasons cruelled his progress and forced him to miss the World Cup in Brazil and the Asian Cup earlier this year.



    Postecoglou is merely thankful he is able to even select Rogic at all.



    “Pretty much since I’ve taken over he’s battled with injuries and hasn’t been able to get himself right,” Postecoglou said.



    “I’m really pleased for him more than anything else that he seems to have his body right.



    “He’s played a couple of games now, he’s in contention, he’s had a full pre-season.”



    But Postecoglou warned Rogic won’t be back at his mesmerising best for a while yet.



    “He’s still nowhere near where he wants to be and hopefully 12 months of solid football this season with Celtic will help him get there,” he said.



    “There’s no real massive expectations from us about him playing a massive role.



    “It’s just about bringing him into the environment again because he hasn’t been in this environment too much.”

  10. saltires en sevilla on

    Would love to see Jason D back for another season



    Do him and his career more good to play 8 European matches least 8!



    Suspect he will end up in English Championship, as there is a reasonable argument the overall standard there is better than what we have in our top flight…unfortunately, suspect decision makers will fail to realise the benefits of playing in so many euro games.



    Still, fingers crossed we get him

  11. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    Need a striker who scores goals?



    Got £60 million to spare?



    Manchester United have tabled a staggering £60 million bid for Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller, according to the German publication Sport Bild.



    Should the story be true, it would appear United is once again prepared to flex its financial muscle in the transfer market. Just last summer, the club broke the British transfer record fee when it acquired Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for £59.7 million.



    The report from Bild also speculates United may have dropped its interest in Barcelona forward Pedro, even though reports from England have stated a deal for the Spain international is near completion after the player agreed to personal terms with the English side.



    The news of United’s renewed interest in Muller comes after reports surfaced this weekend stating that the German international had decided he wants to join Louis van Gaal’s squad.



    United were believed to have two bids for the German World Cup star rejected by Bayern Munich earlier this summer, with the Bundesliga champions emphatically stating they would not sell anymore players to the English side this summer – following the deal which saw midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger move to Manchester.



    “There are players who don’t have a price tag,” declared Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.



    “We would have lost our senses if we allowed such a player to leave.”

  12. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    saltires en sevilla,



    “Would love to see Jason D back for another season”



    Me too!



    But I think Celtic should be looking to sign him. I think he “got” Celtic last season and that he would love to come back to Paradise if he’s no longer in City’s plans.




  13. The ‘Celtic’ Trust militants make great play of the fact that they have infiltrated Celtic’s business and with the help of some deluded shareholders, managed to get a resolution on the AGM agenda – well let me tell them, two can play at that game, and they themselves have been infiltrated by a mole.



    Celtic fans will be horrified to hear, that this bunch of self-righteous ‘do-gooders’ are actively discussing, in secret, trying to organise a series of ‘wildcat’ strikes prior to matches at Celtic Park, if they get ‘knocked-back’ with another nonsense resolution at the AGM. These people would hurt Celtic and the vast majority of fans, to further their stupid dogma,if they had their way



    It of course will never happen as almost all the staff at Celtic Park are perfectly happy with their terms and conditions.



    These so-called Trust people seek only to use Celtic as a platform for their militant political views – they care not a jot for the club we all love.



    I bet they would love to know who is the mole in their midst.

  14. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    Denayer back to Celtic is almost certainly subject to qualification to CL group stages.



    I wonder if that would also affect Virgil’s decision?



    “Should I stay or should I go now?”

  15. .



    AFL announces record-breaking $2.5 billion television deal, pledges to establish code as Australia’s foremost..



    During the Announcement the AFL CEO States we can No Longer guarantee that our Children will be AFL ( Aussie Rules ) supporters..



    In Victoria 1 in 11 People are Members (Season Book) Holders of a AFL Team..





    Ps.. You’ll never Win a World Cup.. Lol



    Summa of SoccerHatersCSC

  16. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    I was just sittin’ here thinkin’…………..ala Champagne Charlie!



    What we are all witnessing (but not all see it yet) is the birth of a new Celtic…..same club of course :~), but we’re on a new road with Ronny-D at the wheel, and we’re all up the front of the bus!



    Well, I for one, am enjoying the view.



    I am confident that this road is the right road and that Ronny-D is the man to lead us.




  17. HANKRAY on 18TH AUGUST 2015 11:33 PM


    Mr Pastry…………….who really cares about English football there’s quite a lot of crap down yonder as well.




    You are quite right, there is some crap ‘south of the border’, however, apart from Celtic, we have 95% crap in Scotland.



    The non-league English clubs are now the market of choice for almost all the clubs in our top-tier….and not ‘cherry-picking’ the best and paying for them…no – they are picking-up players who have been discarded by the Vanarama Vanaroo occupants.



    Aberdeen and Hearts are trying to ‘make a fist of it’, but even they cannot even manage a £100k fee for anybody.



    The standard plummets dramatically, you only have to look at the pathetic displays by ICT, St J and Aberdeen in the early rounds on the Europa League Qualifying – the results are almost identical to those attained by clubs from the Irish league. As in Ireland, this is now the norm in Scotland.



    This nose-diving of standards will eventually tell on Celtic, if nothing changes over the next few years – yes Scottish football may converge at a lower common denominator and become more competitive – but it will be the kind of competition akin to that of a 70 year-olds 100 metres sprint.



    One last thing – I don’t think Celtic will ever, in my lifetime, get out of Scottish football. We are, like it, or not, on a par with a middle of the table English Championship Club – however I suppose the silver-lining that we must cling-on to is this – no English Championship Club, no matter how well financed, can have a crack at qualifying for the Champions League EVERY, or indeed, ANY, season – the downside is that in the near future, we will probably fall at the first-hurdle, like all other Scottish and Irish clubs.

  18. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    The Daily Telegraph state Man City will pay £28.5m for the 27-year-old Argentine international and that Otamendi has flown into Manchester ahead of an imminent medical.



    One wonders quite where Otamendi will fit into Pellegrini’s defensive plans given that current centre-back pair Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala have both looked impressive this term.



    Pellegrini also has veteran Martín Demichelis to call upon as a back-up option, but clearly feels that Otamendi has something to offer his Man City squad.

  19. Mr Pastry on 19th August 2015 3:45 am


    The same wee mole that tripped King Billy’s horse?


    Here’s to the gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat.

  20. Neil Lennon & McCartney on

    Martín Demichelis (34 years old) = £28.5m pelacement (allegedly)



    What price Virgil?



    What price Jason?

  21. Neil Lennon and McCartney



    Jason didn’t even make it to the bench when City beat Chelski recently.



    After signing a new deal and all the razzle – he’s playing for the stiffs in Preston/Bolton/Tranmere..



    That’ll do his Belgian international career some good :o(



    Come on home…and a cue for the fabulous Boz Skaggs singing from his blues tribute album






  22. Glasgow forecast




    A mainly dry, sunny morning. However, outbreaks of rain will reach the Isles and the southwest by late morning, then spread to all areas in the afternoon with some heavy bursts at times over Argyll.


    Meanwhile the east end of Glasgow will experience a thunderous storm around 7:45pm

  23. Or else Jason, it all goes down the drain..



    Cue Boz Skaggs and his “It all went down the drain” from the same album*





    *Vinyl recorded disc usually included multiple songs, precursor to cassette tapes, which preceded CDs which themselves preceded direct downloads on the interweb.




  24. Neil Lennon & McCartney on




    Jason Denayer’s agent Jesse de Preter said……….



    “He was not in the selection against Chelsea but that was no surprise to us,” said the agent.



    “But if City gets a defender, that’s it. They had promised us that no more defenders of that calibre would come. That does worry me. For now, we do not panic.



    “Two weeks ago City wanted him absolutely not let go. That would still say they believe in him. But this should not take too long.



    If he is to sit on the bench or in the stands, he leaves.



    That’s an agreement we have with the club.




  25. NeilLennon and MCartney



    Good stuff then.



    He gets Celtic and he know that exposure with us will mean the move to Europe that he wants.



    Hope you enjoy Boz Skaggs live in LA. He is not even on a Bosman.







  26. Mr Pastry



    Celtic Trust – You’re a very poor man’s Daniel Defoe. On a site where many of us would prefer to chat about the likes of Jermaine Defoe.



    HH jamesgang

  27. Good morning friends from a dry, windless, bright and very very optimistic feeling East Kilbride.



    Nae mair sleeps, can’t wait for tonight!

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