Celtic has a lot to prove in the UCL clash with Midtjylland

They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

And that’s really true for Celtic, who have fallen pretty damn hard after nine years at the top of the world.

We have less than 12 months in Hoop’s attempt at a “joke” era, but they have already given their rivals across the city a run for their money. Even the most avid Celtic defender would admit that they have been a shake since the start of 2020/21, with their perseverance with Neil Lennon and the indecision over Eddie Howe that set them back years.

? #CelticFC preparing for #UCL 2nd qualifier against @fcmidtjylland? pic.twitter.com/cXwJ4C5sXx

– Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) July 19, 2021

They have known for months that their longtime captain would leave a free transfer, but have not yet replaced him, and we have already heard their new boss – at work for a couple of weeks – criticize the board for their hesitation in the transfer market.

We are in the middle of July and they have barely registered an 18-man group with senior players.

In the midst of all this chaos, and much to the astonishing concern of their expected fan base, they have to negotiate a Champions League qualifier with FC Midtjylland, who travel to Glasgow for the first leg on Tuesday night.

You would be forgiven for thinking it would be a minor miracle if Celtic got through this tie unscathed. The Danes present a tough test in the best of times, but this is not a Celtic team in any way for a European game.

Their A-team for the Midtjylland tie gives a fairly reading. They could not meet the 25-player quota for a draw, and those who made the cut include; a 17-year-old midfielder; a striker who did not play during the preseason; a left-back who was deported to Basaksehir after violating quarantine rules a year ago; and Anthony Ralston, their only right-back, who made one (only one) appearance in all competitions last season.

Given that this is their first match under a new manager – which usually takes about six months to get their teams to shoot under the best of circumstances – it will be impressive if they can take anything.

However, Postecoglou is a top coach, and he will know that if he can somehow get his paper-thin, prepared team off to a flying start, it can only set the tone for the season ahead.

☀️ To put the work in the Lennoxtown sunshine before @fcmidtjylland in #UCL. ? #CELFCM? ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/UiOosHBXdA

– Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) July 19, 2021

This is the weakest his Celtic team will ever be – new players Liel Abada and Kyogo Furuhashi will add quality, and they are only expected to be the tip of the iceberg for newcomers – so if they can somehow negotiate into third qualifying round under these circumstances, what does it say about what is to come?

The test before Postecoglou on Tuesday, and a week later in Denmark, is one of the toughest in his leadership career. The odds are stacked against his team, and they will need every bit of his experience, and it boasts of Christopher Jullien, Callum McGregor and James Forrest, if they are to get through it.

For Postecoglou, however, it’s a chance to put down the glove in his first competitive match in charge, and warn Rangers that they have a real fight in hand to hold on to.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More