The Winner Takes it All – It’s Celtic v AIK Stockholm in Europa Play-off

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CELTIC will play AIK Stockholm at Celtic Park next Thursday in the Europa League Play-off round first leg with the return leg in Sweden the following Thursday 29 August. As a result of the Champions League exit and European football moving to Thursdays will mean Premiership games being re-arranged – if Celtic can get past AIK and into the Group stages of the Europa League.

For now though it’s just the one match that is affected, the home match against Saturday next weekend moves from Saturday to Sunday to accommodate the Europa League games.

Tonight AIK squeezed past Sheriff Tiraspol with a 1-1 draw at home. AIK thus win the tie 3-2 on aggregate. Nabil Bahoui gave the Swedish side the lead before Gabrijel Boban equalised near the end but AIK held on to win the right to play at Paradise – where they will any their chances against that Celtic defence they’d have watched closely the other night.

AIK are in some trouble with UEFA regarding pyrotechnics being set off at their stadium and there is a chance that they could have a stand closed for the visit of the Scottish Champions. It will not affect tickets for the travelling Celtic support though.

There’s likely to at least one change to the Celtic side that will play AIK, with Scott Bain likely too miss out with a hand injury. Reports that he’ll miss two months seem to be well wide of the mark though, with the goalkeeper likely to be out for a week or two.

However Craig Gordon, who will play on Saturday against Dunfermline in the League Cup tie at Celtic Park, will be hoping to do enough to win the gloves back on a permanent basis. Bain looked well short of confidence and form over the past few matches and a spell out of the side seems like a decent outcome.

Pundits are linking Celtic for a move for former Celtic keeper Fraser Forster but there seems to be little chance of that one happening, unless of course it’s to relieve the increasing pressure on our de facto Director of Football.

Celtic’s next game after the second leg in Stockholm on 29 August is at Ibrox on Sunday 1 September and that is a match that Neil Lennon will be desperate to win. Again the Ibrox players will fancy their chances against Celtic after watching that Bhoys horror show agains Cluj.

Also on The Celtic Star…

‘Charlatan’ – Lawwell under increasing pressure after ‘4 Celtic Men’ article…see HERE.

To Lisbon and back on a fiver – exactly how it was done…see HERE.

‘Tuesday night turned into a shambles,’ says Niall J, ‘Lennon will have to learn from this’…see HERE.

Gil Heron’s grandchildren – Tuesday’s Guest of Honour at Celtic Park…see HERE.

The First of Seven Trophies for Rodgers as Celtic Manager…see HERE.

Four Celtic men paint an extremely worrying picture about the way our club is being run…see HERE.

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