Are you feeling confident? I’m not as confident as I would like to be. We’re so ‘on’ and ‘off’ these days it’s difficult to anticipate how tonight’s Europa League game against Rosenborg will unfold. I am assuring myself that we turn it on when we need to, as we did for much of last season too.
Since drawing with Celtic on 1 August, Rosenborg have been on fire. Nine wins and a draw in 10 outings is impressive consistency. That run has given them a two point lead in the Norwegian league and given temporary manager, Rini Coolen, reason to think he may get the job on a permanent basis.
Celtic Park has not been kind to Rosenborg on their two visit since July last year. They had chances to win the first game and took an early lead last month, but lived to regret being unable to capitalise on opportunities that came their way. The mini-league setup is different from the knock-out contests we have previously played, which reduces any incentive Rosenborg have to seek an away goal. They will be happy to shut up shop and will have watched St Mirren do just that on Friday.
It is going to be a calm and damp night in Glasgow, the perfect conditions for Celtic to zing the ball around and get into their natural game. Big performances from James Forrest, Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic will be needed.
I see Gordon Strachan dismissed George Peat’s tears over Rangers capitulation in 2008 this morning: “Wasn’t that the season when Rangers had two games against us and they just needed to draw one of them to wrap up the title?
“We had to play them twice in the space of a couple of weeks at home knowing they only needed to take a point away from our place but we managed to beat them twice.
“They had the opportunity to put it to bed with a draw but we won the two games, with big Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink scoring a last minute winner in one of them.”
Those two games against Rangers live rich in the memory. Towels were thrown-in all over CQN after the home defeat to 10-man Motherwell. We were behind in the first Rangers game and level deep into added time before that Vennegoor of Hesselink winner. Credit to Scott McDonald for notable contributions on both occasions, after chastising him for having a go at Celtic for not offering competitive wages.
“They just needed one draw to wrap up the title.” I bet reading that still stings Peat.