I don’t think there is much you can say about last night’s match. It was far from entertaining or stylistic, but it was job done.
In truth the match was won at Celtic Park last week. A year ago we had to go to the Lerkandal Stadion and score having failed to do so in Glasgow a week earlier.
This time we only had to keep a clean sheet and possibly even score a goal to make us more comfortable. We had a winning score to protect after all.
Celtic did not commit themselves to attacking in the first half and played very deep. Rosenborg had all the chances, but they were poor and wasteful.
Credit where credit’s due though, Craig Gordon pulled off some great saves. It didn’t help us feel at ease seeing all these attempts on our goal, but Gordon showed his sharpness and ability were there.
Similarly, the defence played their hand in not conceding any goals. That will be a real shot in the arm for Kristoffer Ajer and Jack Hendry who are building up that European experience even if they are likely to lose their partnership when others are back in contention.
By the second half, Celtic decided to come out and play a bit more which for those of us watching made it more bearable. Up until that stage, it was a match played with complete indolence.
In fact, if I am being truthful the entire game was like that. So I was glad when the final whistle went even though I’ll never get that 90+ minutes back.
There are tougher games ahead and we must be ready for that. Next week we face AEK Athens and the test will be tougher.
The Greek Champions haven’t played a competitive match since May, but they’ve tucked in four friendlies in preparation. The most recent of which was a 3-2 win over Galatasaray.
AEK manager, Marinos Ouzounidis was appointed last month following the departure of Manolo Jiminez to Las Palmas. Jiminez led the Greek club last season to their first title since 1994 in what was his second spell as manager.
Now the task of playing in the Champions League has fallen to Ouzounidis. His European record with previous club Panathinaikos, was 4th in the Group Stage of the Europa League in 2016-2017 and then no further than Play-Offs of the Europa League 2017-2018.
Despite not being the manager to lead them to last seasons title or to have experienced the Champions League at any stage, AEK will be a greater challenge than Rosenborg. Similarly, I expect Celtic to up their game.
Brendan Rodgers will have more of his players available for next week and the week after that. With the exception of Moussa Dembele, Lewis Morgan and Nir Bitton all of Celtic’s recent absentees are available or back in training.
The league campaign begins on Saturday against Livingston. Brendan is likely to give game time to those who have not played as much this summer.
That will allow him to assess who is ready to face AEK at Celtic Park on Wednesday. You can be sure he will take the team that has played the last two matches against Rosenborg and possibly swap out one or two.
Will there be more signings before then? Who the hell knows, but what we do know is that Celtic have the option to register new players by midnight tonight for the Third Round and add up to two players up until midnight before the first leg.
Personally, I don’t see any movement there right now. I don’t see any business being done until we reach the play-offs – Champions League or Europa League.
Speaking of play-offs, great thanks to @Moravcik67_ on Twitter whose analysis provided us with a preview of Celtic’s potential opponents in Monday’s draw, should they get past AEK. The lineup is in the main picture above (graphic also provided by Moravcik67_). They were also able to provide us with player registration details I mentioned – well worth a follow on Twitter.