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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. Half Time. Pretty much 50/50. Draw fair at this stage. Ciftci needs to get off the mark sooner rather than later.

  2. A load of old guys on pitch. Previous players.

     

    Really nice atmosphere as YNWA is played

  3. BIG-CUP-WINNERS on

    Must be great being a wean staying in those flats….free footballs every 5 minutes.

  4. Celtic TV showing highlights from Wednesday night.

     

    MOT Blog Stefan Jo Hansen looking good.

     

    He’s just laid one on and scored a second.

  5. poor up front,passing crap, at least Cifti managed to jump this game.

     

     

    Looks hot and humid there.

     

     

    Was that Logans first touch at the penalty save?

     

     

     

    KTF

  6. embramike says "the Huns are Deid" on

    With Gordon, Lustig, Izzy, Johansen, GMS all rested it was a sometimes tetchy first half with few chances for us after the first 20 minutes.

     

     

    Mulgrew struggling defensively (who is going to cover for Izzy who is suspended for our first SPFL game I think?) and Forrest does have a turn of place but too often doesn’t have a final ball.

     

     

    Keeper saved well from the penalty but almost sold an easy goal so an interesting first 45 debut for him.

     

     

    Good pressing up front with Griffiths and Cifci working in tandem and their keeper has been blocked a few times.

     

     

    Good workout before Wednesday and the passing has been crisper than of recent. This team are La Liga and better than we will face in Iceland.

  7. hankray

     

    18:00 on

     

    18 July, 2015

     

    Quite an entertaining pre season. Boyata looks good a Sydney Poitier lookalike.

     

     

    Don’t invite him for dinner though :) por cierto

  8. JimmyQuinnsBits on

    Eibar playin the pressin game so good test for the back four in moving it out of defence, which theyre not really passing at the moment

     

     

    Not much joy up the left at all, Charlie decent defensively, but doesnt offer the wing play that Izzy gives

     

     

    Big hole between midfield and Ciftci/Griff…. Needs fillin

  9. gg,

     

    Agreed,

     

    Commentator said earlier Johansen was warming up, is he on the bench or not, if not why warm up ?

  10. bournesouprecipe on

    Canamalar

     

     

    Wife came in and said ‘is that Johansen missed another penalty’

  11. fan-a-tic

     

     

    17:53 on 18 July, 2015

     

    Someone on the coaching staff needs to teach us how to play a diagonal pass.

     

    Everything straight and square.

     

    Poor passing and movement.

     

    ———

     

    Well there ye go.

     

     

    I’ve seen lots of good diagonal balls. And was just saying to SS jnr that our movement off the ball has been good, except for Forrest who has movement but not to the right place.

     

     

    Agree that the passing isn’t always perfect but then we’re often trying the low percentage pass which is ok with me.

  12. themaestro72 on

    I agree Broonie off – we know what Biton and him bring.

     

     

    Got to try different things in friendlies because of injuries and suspensions.

  13. Canamalar

     

    18:05 on

     

    18 July, 2015

     

    Need to move Armstrong in field missing his creative play

     

     

    Yea I like him in the Stefan role por cierto

  14. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Think it sounds like a lot of drunken golf fans tonight

     

    They have had nothing to do all day but bevy

  15. fassreifan,

     

    Ronny said after the game the other night he was replaced as a precaution and should be available for next week.

  16. Nye Bevans' rebel soldier on

    It’s time tae think furit tae Wednesday night.some

     

    subs please,we have filled our contractual obligations.

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