Celtic will face the familiar foe of Rosenborg BK on Wednesday night in a crucial UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying round tie.
Rosenborg Ballkub (BK) are the most successful team from Norway playing out of Lerkendal Stadion, Trondheim. The club have won the Eliteserien 24 times, the Norwegian cup 11 times and the Superfinalen twice. The club has a strong European pedigree having reached the Champions League group stages eleven times.
Celtic and Rosenborg have a number of strong links in terms of fixtures and players. In the club’s 100 year history, they have faced Celtic on numerous occasions. The first meeting was in 1972/73, as Rosenborg were defeated by Celtic 4-1 on aggregate in the first round of the European Cup. The first leg saw Macari and Deans score before Wirkola clawed one back. The second leg saw the Celts run out 2-0 victors with Macari and Deans both scoring again to progress.
In the 2001/2002 season, a strong Rosenborg side that had made the Group stages consistently since 1995 turned up to Celtic Park and were beaten 1-0 thanks to an Alan Thompson free-kick. However, the away leg, and most recent tie with RBK, proved to be a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Norwegians and former Celt Harald Brattbakk who netted a brace.
Last season, we faced the Norwegians in the Third Qualifying round for a place in the qualifier for football’s most prestigious and lucrative competition. A cagey 0-0 stalemate in Glasgow ensured a nervous visit to Trondheim; however, Celtic were excellent on the night and despite defensive casualties, a superb James Forrest effort was enough to separate the teams and give Celtic a place in the play-off round versus Astana.
Brattbakk, who scored on the night last time Celtic played Rosenborg, is just one of a few players that make the connection between the clubs. Brattbakk is fondly remembered as scoring Celtic’s second against St Johnstone to seal the 1997/98 title to Celtic and defy Rangers’ bid for ten-in-a-row. Brattbakk spent three seasons at Celtic before departing in 2000. During three spells at Rosenborg, Brattbakk scored 294 goals in 407 appearances in Norwegian football.
A player that Brattbakk played with at Celtic and Rosenborg was defender Vidal Riseth. The centre-back joined Celtic in 1998, making 73 appearances over 2 seasons before moving on in 2000.
This is not the end of the connection between the two premier clubs in Norway and Scotland as three of Celtic’s current squad are also connected to Rosenborg. It so happens that one was used to replace the other at the club. Right-back’s Cristian Gamboa and Mikael Lustig – with the latter having occupied the berth in defence for RBK from 2008 until 2011, when he left for Celtic after making 136 appearances and scoring 26 goals. Gamboa arrived in Trondheim in 2012 and despite only staying for under two years at the club, strong performances in 52 appearances saw Gamboa seal a move to England with West Brom.
Neither Lustig or Gamboa are the most recent Celtic players to have played for RBK as ex-Celt Liam Henderson, the 21-year-old, was loaned to the Norwegian club by Ronny Deila on a three-month loan deal. The youngster impressed in his 13 appearances for the club and scored 4 goals which saw the Rosenborg fans clammer for him to stay on; however, Celtic hoped his progress would be furthered at Hibernian.
Celtic will be hoping that the next two ties against Rosenborg result in the Hoops progressing to the Champions League third round qualifier, which will be drawn on 23 July.