Rusty Copenhagen suffer shock defeat ahead of Celtic visit

COPENHAGEN suffered a shock defeat to bottom of the league side Esbjerg in their first match back after their extended winter-break. And that has left their manager Stale Solbakken worried about their chances next Thursday when Celtic visit on Europa League duties.

The Danish league closed for a two-month long winter break, so with Celtic having just three weeks off at the start of the year and well into the groove again with a 100% win record in both the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup since play resumed at Firhill, the Scottish Champions have a real advantage.

On last night’s loss, the Copenhagen boss had this to say: “It was a game where we struggled to create after Esbjerg scored and they packed themselves around the penalty area,” he said to the Danish media, as reported by Scottish Sun.

“They also had a few counter attacks and set-plays. If we’d have scored first, we’d probably have won the game.

“But the level of performance will have to go up if we want to beat Celtic, definitely. Celtic are back in their season, it was our first game after the winter break, so we need to cancel out their tempo.

“They’re clearly in a better rhythm than we are. Celtic are favourites but I’ll still be disappointed if we don’t compete with them. But we needed this game here.”

Celtic are the seeded side and have home advantage in the second leg. Over the past two seasons we’ve seem both Zenit and Valencia eliminate unseeded Celtic in the round of 32. Despite a decent home win against the Russians – thanks to that wonderful Callim McGregor goal we were easily swept aside in the return, with Dorus de Vries having a nightmare night in the Celtic goals.

A year later the damage was done at Celtic Park and Celtic never properly competed in the tie. This time it will be different and with Celtic flying and rusty Copenhagen struggling to get up to speed, the conditions are there for a Celtic victory in this tie.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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