Let’s be clear about this, Fenerbahce looked at a Europa League group with Celtic and Molde and figured they and Ajax would progress. They are paying some of the highest wages outside of the uber-resourced clubs in order to attract Robin van Persie, Nani and Raul Meireles, among others, to Turkey. They clearly met stiffer competition than expected two weeks ago, when Molde stunned Europe with a 1-3 win in Istanbul, so Ronny Deila is right to suggest they are under greater pressure tonight.
This is our key advantage. Fenerbahce arrive in Glasgow needing to bring the game to Celtic. Had they won their opening fixture, they could have afforded a more conservative attitude.
As for Celtic, we’re at our best when counter-attacking. Home and away to Malmo we dominated possession and territory but were picked off. In Amsterdam we frustrated Ajax and broke forward with pace – which is something we have plenty of.
This is going to be a long, tense, night, but we can get at Fenerbahce. Their early season league results have been positive, but there are signs of fragility, their only win by more than one goal was against the 17th placed team, and that was 7 weeks ago. Maybe Molde uncovered a vulnerable underbelly.
Dermot, where to start? You want things to happen before an important match day to unite fans, so I suppose he united us, but really? Ill-advised, get on-message.
Eye on the prize for tonight.
Fan safety issue:
Uefa Security, Turkish Police, Police Scotland, Celtic and Fenerbahce met last night. The issue of Flags and Banners was discussed at the request of the Turkish contingent. They have highlighted their concerns for any banners being displayed which could provoke a reaction.
Political and religious tensions are running high in Turkey and it was expressed that the wrong displays could lead to serious disorder. There will be banner checks on both sets of fans entering the stadium.
From what I can tell Fenerbahce fans enjoyed the ‘That’s not a knife’ parody, and our reputation with them is high, but Celtic fans will be in Istanbul in a few weeks and vulnerable if resentment exists.
Thank you to everyone who has taken a moment to donate to the Foundation this week via the Celtic fans who are competing in the Great Scottish Run on Sunday. A wonderful aspect of humanity flows through the Celtic support. If you get a chance to participate in the appeal, go for it:
It’s not too late to sign up for the GSR/Foundation, Sunday’s going to be a great day in Glasgow, if you fancy it……
If you entered the Magners’ Fanzone competition yesterday, check your email, winners have been notified.