Obviously that’s not quite the case. Most of us can remember when we almost turned around a 5-0 deficit against Artmedia Bratislava in 2005, and even more of us will remember the concerns we had in Kazakhstan against Astana. But in both cases, the team that needed to score five just to level the tie only managed to score four. In Astana, we even scored another three ourselves!
It would be a collapse of epic proportions for us not to progress to the third qualifying round now. With all due respect to Nomme, they’re not as good as that Astana team, or as good as Gordon Strachan’s Celtic even in those shaky early days, so I can’t really see them doing much tonight.
Our target today should be to get a win, purely for the Scottish coefficient, and hopefully give a few other players a run out. Getting Christopher Jullien a run out is definitely on the cards, and maybe we’ll see a few more changes in there as well.
I’d love to say that we are getting him ready for the big league kick off at the weekend, but apparently he’s suspended due to a number of bookings he picked up last season in France. What is it with these other FAs grassing in our players to the Scottish FA?! First Jozo Simunovic and now this? But we’ll come to that on Saturday.
The goals last week took a while to get going, but once they did there were some wonderful goals among them. Leigh Griffiths marked his first competitive start since December with another terrific free kick, while Ryan Christie hit a sweet strike to add to the penalty he had scored earlier. That came after an Ajer header, and we closed out the goals with another Callum McGregor strike.
Griffiths goal moved him level with Bobby Lennox as Celtic’s fourth top scorer in Europe with fourteen, just two goals behind Jimmy Johnstone and Chris Sutton. Then of course there’s a massive gap up to our all time top scorer in Europe, Henrik Larsson with just the thirty five goals! But actually, it’s also worth noting that Callum McGregor’s goal was his tenth for Celtic in Europe so he’s not too far behind either.
He won’t be scoring again tonight though. He along with James Forrest have remained in Glasgow, showing that Neil Lennon has every intention of resting players. Marian Shved travelled so he could get his competitive run out tonight in the A Le Coq Arena – home to Flora Tallinn rather than Nomme Kalju because it’s bigger and Nomme wanted to cash in. I’m sure they had hoped they were still in the tie though!
No complacency from Celtic is the order of the day. A professional job, no worries, and we can look forward to seeing what has happened in the Maccabi Tel-Aviv v Cluj match kicking off at the same time in Israel.
Krys (Twitter @krys1888)