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Note of caution on potential European opponents

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If it’s a choice between a trip to Macedonia or Azerbaijan, Celtic would doubtlessly prefer the former. Baku, where Azerbaijani club Qarabag reside, is not as far west as Astana, where Celtic played two years ago, but it’s east of Iraq and it’s not a city which appears in many tourist lists.

Rudar Pljevlja returned from Baku midweek with a 0-0 draw.  In days gone by that was regarded as a great away European result, but the lack of away goal will much of the second leg is played on a knife-edge.

One large note of caution, Qarabag went out of Europe last season by a one goal aggregate margin to Red Bull Salzburg, who lost in Baku, but won in Glasgow a few months later.  They have twice eliminated Polish opposition in the last five years.

My hunch is that Celtic are better than each potential opponent, but if we’re short of fitness or preparation, we’ll have more trouble than we want.

The good news is that neither club plays summer football, so they should be no better prepared that Celtic.  Rudar finished competitively in May, Qarabag a week later, while both played their first competitive games of the season on Wednesday.  From what I can tell, both also play on grass, so we’ll avoid the Scandinavian bounce.

Before concerning ourselves too much with the 3rd Champions League qualifying round we need to use today’s game against La Liga side Eibar to sharpen fitness, and take care of business in Iceland on Wednesday.

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1,093 Comments

  1. Nye Bevans' rebel soldier on

    blantyretim is praying for the Knox family

     

    17:31 on

     

    18 July, 2015…..cheers pal.I struggle tae keep up on here,

     

    as I do in real life.

  2. embramike says "the Huns are Deid" on

    Bailly stranded at edge of box and Boyata clears lob off the line !!

  3. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Istanbulcelt

     

    ” JJ hot smoke, your prize will be behind the bar at the annual Buckie Thistle Dinner & Dance. :-))) ”

     

    So will I. It is my turn this year 0:-)

     

    I keep meaning to go to a Buckie game. I think I will definitely do it this year.

     

     

     

    Good save ,Logan . Waited for the taker to shoot them made a smart save.

  4. Decent game , played at a decent pace.we are misplacing a lot of passes, so are they to be fair. Biton and Brown showing up well, Forrest also…Ciftci and Griffiths off the pace so far.

  5. We have not been great up front.

     

    We didn’t capitalize on early dominance and now look a wee bit ponderous up front

  6. They have had 2 clear chances we have had one.

     

    We just do not seem to have anything or plan in last third