Date: 20th August 2019 at 7:50am
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AIK coach Sean O’Shea has been anticipating playing against Celtic since January.

Growing up in Huddersfield his Irish parents ensured that supported Celtic as he attempted to make a playing career in the game.

Stints at Huddersfield and Halifax failed to take off with his move into coaching earning him a job in Dubai where he made contact with AIK who traveled regularly to the Emirate during their winter break.

That eventually led to the offer of a coaching job with the Swedish champions who’ll visit Glasgow on Thursday night for a Europa League Play Off.

It’s strange that the draw has thrown the two clubs together after we both went out of the Champions League,” he explained to The Sun. “If I’m being honest it was the dream draw for me. Celtic were definitely the team I wanted.

My parents are both Irish and although I was born in Huddersfield I grew up in an area of the town called ‘Little Ireland’ because there’s such a big Irish community there. We used to go to the local Irish centre and watch the Old Firm games on TV, so when the draw threw us together I was buzzing but I wasn’t the only one.

Everyone at AIK is excited about the prospect of playing Celtic. We know about the history of the club and the stature they have. Our supporters are really looking forward to it.”

Explaining his route to Sweden he added: “AIK liked what I did and asked me to come and work on the coaching side, working with injured players and backing up coach Rikard Norling and No2 Patrik Jildefalk.

The weird thing is I knew in January when Celtic came that I was joining AIK and had a chat with Brendan Rodgers about the clubs meeting in the Champions League.”

AIK’s 2-1 home defeat from Kalmar saw them drop back to third place in this season’s title race, four points behind leaders Djurgarden.

In the first round of Champions League qualifying they beat Armenian side Ararat 4-3 on aggregate thanks to a 3-1 home win before losing out to Malmo on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate draw.

To reach the play off stage of the Europa League they saw off Sheriff of Moldova on a 3-2 aggregate, winning the first leg 2-1 away from home followed by a 1-1 draw in Sweden.