Celtic take on an opponent of higher calibre this evening, than they did in previous round, as they bid to progress in the Champions League. Rosenborg are tonight’s visitors at Celtic Park and although they’ve been penned as a shadow of their former selves, Celtic cannot afford to underestimate any side in Europe these days.
In the last round the Norwegian team won the tie in extra time after 1-1 draws in each leg with Dundalk. Both began their journey in the Champions League qualifiers last season as well.
The League of Ireland side made the group phase of the Europa League whilst Rosenborg failed at the play off stage of the same tournament. I’m not sure that makes one team better than the other though.
I wouldn’t pin too much on last season. Celtic are a team trying to build in Europe again so Rosenborg should be given due respect.
The only difference is that this time around we know the capabilities of this Celtic team. This time last season we were waiting to find out what that was.
What may hold us back for this game is injury and suspension. Leigh Griffiths is suspended, Moussa Dembele is a doubt and Erik Sviatchenko appears to be partnering Dedryck Boyata our injured central defenders list.
That leaves Celtic weak at the back and up front. What Celtic do have an abundance of are attacking midfielders.
According to Brendan Rodgers, Tom Rogić could play up front. Scott Sinclair deputised when Dembele and Griffiths were both out last season, but the manager insists this isn’t a problem for him.
Goals have been spread pretty well throughout this Celtic team. The real worry is defence.
We’ve played three at the back before, but I’m not so sure this is a game we want to do that. We may be playing at home but I expect a better effort from Rosenborg.
We won’t know how they’ll shape up until later on. Brendan could get away with Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Kieran Tierney at the back, but minus a recognised striker I’d be wary.
The loss of Emilio Izaguirre and the injury to Cristian Gamboa doesn’t help us out either. Kristoffer Ajer could be an option to partner Simunovic, though the Norwegian hasn’t seen a lot of game time under Rodgers but he has made over 60 appearances in the Norwegian top flight for IK Start as well as 17 appearances for Kilmarnock whilst on loan last season.
With so much riding on these games he could be the best option despite having only played 1 competitive game for Celtic. It may all ride on a late fitness test for Dembele and of course Brendan’s tactics.
The key to victory will come from the midfield. That’s our strongest area, but needs to be effective.
If we go three at the back then the defence will receive adequate protection from one or two players in a packed midfield. Similarly, with the prospect of not striker, someone will need to step up.
I’m keen to see Brendan’s tactics on this tonight. Should be an interesting match,