Bodo boss claims his side aren’t good enough to play Celtic at present

If ever a mentality set two teams apart, Bodo/Glimt manager Kjetil Knudsen is showing that right now ahead of next week’s tie at Paradise.

The Celts head into the Europa Conference League tie against the team from the Arctic Circle after narrowly finishing third in their difficult Europa League group, taking wins against Real Betis and the double over Ferencvaros in the process.

Having won the Norwegian League in their last two outings, Knudsen knows how big mentality is alongside tactical nous in winning competitions.

But ahead of his side’s visit to Glasgow, the Norwegian has admitted his side are well behind in the battle for form.

Going into the tie having remained unbeaten in their last 20 league games, Celtic have the upper hand against their opponents given the Norwegian league is going through pre season due to the difference in season schedule.

Their league starts in March, essentially making this a huge pre-season warm up.

Celtic fans know just how bad crucial European ties that occur before the season gets underway can be, having been dumped out of the Champions League qualifiers by FC Midtjylland having barely got used to Ange’s system.

And Knudsen feels the same way, having scraped past Swedish side Elsborg 3-2 in a friendly.

“It was a bit different,” Knutsen told the club’s website, with quotes attributed to the Scotsman.

“We start the match well and have complete control, and go to the break with a deserved lead. The second half, I think, gets messy. We join their game and they are good going forward and when we get as many counter-attack situations as we do and then fail to get to the end product, it becomes a messy match.

“We can not completely calm down and play off the pressure, as we do in the first place. We have some fantastic attacks that should end with goals, but we played without balance.

“I have received answers to some things and some individual players have given me answers, but it is not at the level I expected today. When we have structure, we look good, and it is why we lose the structure we have to look more at.

“That can not happen when we come out at Celtic Park next Thursday. It will be a completely different match and a completely different framework, now we will work well in the coming week and prepare for a team we have watched a lot. We are looking forward to two games against a big club.

“We must be at our highest level from the first to the last minute. When we are at our best, everyone is involved and does their best. When we are not, we fall through pretty quickly.”

The Bhoys’ will look to finish their campaign with at least a double, after winning the League Cup against Hibs earlier in the season. But if they play their cards right, a famous quadruple could be on their hands…and it could not get any easier than playing a team who are still finding their fitness.

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  1. A quadruple? Wow a bit premature. Get through a round or two and get the coefficient up, keep concentrating on the league and let’s see where the cup gets to.