This evening Brendan Rodgers will preside over his first competitive match as Celtic manager, in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. The Hoops face Lincoln Red Imps in the first leg of the second qualifying round in the UEFA Champions League and will be looking to hit the ground running with a victory.
Lincoln Red Imps of course will be aiming to cause an upset and what better time to do it? Their opponents under new management, still getting to know his players and trying to establish a new system.
It’s the perfect opportunity for the Gibraltarians, particularly when the first leg is on their territory. Speaking of which, the Imps’ playing surface is plastic and said not be of the best quality.
All sounds pretty negative right? Well that shouldn’t deflect from the fact Celtic are a superior team in every way.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t writing off the home side. Respect where it is due and all that, but this Celtic side should be able to turn over this team on any surface.
Sadly, it looks as though Efe Ambrose might be playing at centre back so there’s always the possibility of a calamity. If that happens then he can make the short crossing to Africa and head back to Nigeria instead of Scotland.
With any luck there won’t be any calamities and instead we will be applauding Celtic at the end of the match. The last thing we need are headlines like “Cock of Gibraltar” and such.
A clean sheet and a goal or two will suffice before the Imps come over to Celtic Park for a good hiding. With all due respect to our opponents, Celtic shouldn’t have to play these rounds.
We’re the national Champions and shouldn’t have to be pitted against another national Champion for the right to play in this tournament. We should be there by default.
The UEFA set up is farcical from top to bottom. Every national Champion should have direct entry.
If UEFA want to pad it out further with more teams or just the biggest teams as they do currently, the let all the 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed teams scrap it out in July. Celtic have already earned their right to be there as have Lincoln Red Imps.
Let’s kick the season off with a win.