One of the most frustrating elements of the first leg against AEK Athens was that the visitors left Glasgow with an advantage without convincing anyone they were the better team. Celtic played poorly in many aspects: our passing in the final third was not precise enough and we were shaky at the back for much of the evening, but we know we can play much better.
That result will make AEK supremely confident. They coped with what we threw at them, scored a goal, and will plan to defend tonight and counter with effect.
If Celtic are to progress into the final qualification round, they will need to be better in possession, and that will require getting things right in central defence.
I’m trying to avoid mentioning our unavailable Belgian friend right now, but with Kristopher Ajer suspended, we will have to perm two from Simunovic, Hendry and Lustig. The latter can be used with Cristian Gamboa filling in on the right, just as he did when Mikael was rested for the away leg against Rosenborg. This decision will be the key to our prospects.
Last week we were very left sided. James Forrest saw little action, but his pace is perfectly suited to the wide-open areas of the former Olympic Stadium in Athens. Few defenders can live with James’ speed. He will get down the right, deliver crosses or cut inside to pull defenders out of place.
I don’t think it matters greatly who we play in the striker role, all three candidates are capable of playing at this level, but if his hamstring is safe to play, I would give Moussa 60 minutes.
There are many examples when we have won through after drawing the first leg at home, but this task most feels like the Dynamo Moscow Champions League qualifier in 2009, when we lost 0-1 at home before winning 0-2 away.
Like AEK, Dynamo deserved their result in Glasgow without looking anything special. Celtic have a straightforward opportunity to put things right.