Celtic must be brave and believe, Scales and Lagerbielke to start

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…

Brendan Rodgers and Joe Hart of the Scottish Celtic FC looks ahead to the first match in the group stage of the Champions League against Feyenoord during a press conference in De Kuip. ANP OLAF KRAAK

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.

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Celtic v Dundee – cinch Premiership – Callum McGregor applauds the fans after the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park on: Saturday September 16, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

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.

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Celtic v Dundee – Celtic players celebrate on the pitch after the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday September 16, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

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.

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Liam Scales and Gustaf Lagerbielke are the only two fit central defenders we have at the moment

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.

16th September 2023 Celtic Park, , Celtic versus Dundee Amadou Bakayoko of Dundee takes on Nat Phillips of Celtic. Photo ActionPlus David Young

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

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About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.

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