11-in-a-row Celts ready for Europe


Another good solid team performance in the 3-1 win over St Mirren continued Celtic’s domestic dominance as attention turns towards Europe.


Tuesday’s game in Aalborg is huge, we could be on course for the Champions League or out of Europe altogether by the end of the game but I’ll settle for the middle option of being on course for a UEFA Cup spot.

I can’t see beyond a 0-0 draw between Villarreal and Manchester United which suits both teams and gives them a relaxing matchday 6.

Meanwhile Celtic have as good a chance as they are likely to get for a number of years to finally win away in the Champions League.

The regular pattern of three home wins and three away defeats has been broken this season and while the away record is poor there are very few teams that can match our home record and NO-ONE comes to Celtic Park in the Champions League full of confidence.

An interesting point that I’ve picked up is that we’ve rarely had ‘must-win’ away games in the Champions League. With our home record losing away has never been a disaster and there’s no shame in losing to AC Milan, Barcelona, Manchester United or Benfica… FC Kopenhagen and Anderlecht however surely come into the winnable category.

The team looks to have the measure and maturity to see off the domestic challenge with 20 wins from the last 22 SPL fixtures as they again demonstrated in the 3-1 win over St Mirren.

It was scrappy at times but after having players involved in all sort of international games during the week they still had enough in the tank to hold off St Mirren in a lunchtime Saturday kick-off, two days after returning from international duty.

St Mirren had a few chances and near things but when you bring on Shaun Maloney as a substitute and have a German internationalist crossing to a Greek internationalist to find the net you always stand a chance.

The magic of Shunsuke Nakamura put the game beyond St Mirren before Cillian Sheridan scored his fourth goal of the season with the type of chance that strikers thrive on.

There’s no time to rest before Tuesday’s game in Aalborg but hopefully the importance of the match against a manager-less side in the bottom half of the Danish league should see our expensive talents rise to the occasion.

Getting a win in Denmark will give everyone a lift and guarantee European football after Christmas for the third year running, a tremendous achievement.

Put together the impressive domestic form and the confidence of being able to compete with the best in Europe and we should set ourselves up nicely for the challenges ahead knowing that our squad has the depth to cope and the experience of knowing what it takes to be domestically dominant.

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