We’ve got to be brave tonight in Rotterdam, we have the talent, but we’ve also got to believe that we can succeed at this level…
Tonight Celtic kick off our champions league campaign in Rotterdam against Dutch champions Feyenoord.
While the Dutch side are a formidable opponent who are in great from, particularly when it comes to scoring goals, they are a side who I feel we can get a result from. A draw or a win is what we should be aiming for and any thoughts of defeat shouldn’t enter our heads.
Whether the team think like that is another thing, and I’m sure Brendan has them fired up for tonight and is aiming for a victory, but I unfortunately think there is still a lot of self doubt regarding their capabilities at this level.
It’s maybe a Scottish thing with the supporters in the stands and maybe affecting the players on the field, we seem to revel in self doubt regarding our own capabilities. It’s what’s held us back as a nation for so long. It doesn’t hold back other small nations on a level with us such as ourselves, and while we aren’t loaded with world class talent, we do have a talented pool of players who can compete with the best in Europe.
All that is missing is that belief, and if we can go into a game believing we can win instead of being beat before a ball is kicked we can improve our results on the park. It’s very much achievable. We are a big name, we play in a magnificent stadium, we have a big support, and more importantly we have the players capable of pulling off a win. We’ve just got to believe that we can do it.
As far as the team selection goes for tonight’s game, a main talking point once again will be surrounding the central defence partnership. In my view Liam Scales and Gustav Lagerbielke both have got to start against Feyenoord.
The main worry going into tonight’s game is understandably the centre of defence. It’s an area that has seen us decimated by injury this season and we have no fewer than three first team centre backs out for a period of time and one currently doubtful for tonight’s game.
The player currently doubtful is new signing Nat Phillips who rolled on his ankle against Dundee on Saturday and was replaced at half time by Gustav Lagerbielke. Even if he was fit I wouldn’t throw Nat into this one from the start. He had an okay debut against Dundee on Saturday, but he was hardly tested against a side who were just looking to avoid defeat.
He looks as if he’s going to be a decent signing for us, but his injury concern plus his lack of first team football makes him a non starter for this game in my eyes. Feyenoord are excellent up top and have wonderful technical forwards and we’ll need guys at the back who are one hundred percent.
Lagerbielke and Scales are far from our first choice pairing, but they have got to be our first choice starters tonight. Both have performed well in the last three games and are more importantly fit and ready, they will have also built up a small understanding and that will be vital. Any other centre back pairing tonight and it will be a long night indeed.
Just an Ordinary Bhoy