It’s the first game in a big week for Celtic as we test how far we have progressed under Ange Postecoglou. After the disappointing results against Hearts and Midtjylland, we have seen the team blossom as they start to gel with Ange’s philosophy, tonight AZ Alkmaar will give us the sternest test yet.
Celtic travel to The Netherlands two goals to the good, Alkmaar will likely feel if they score early they will have a chance of turning the score around, expect the Dutch to come out flying. Can the defence withstand the pressure? Hopefully. However with Alkmaar attacking it leaves them vulnerable at the back.
Last week’s match between the clubs was an open game, both attacking at spells and having good chances, Hart’s save early on was crucial, by the end of the match Celtic were unlucky not to have scored more and Alkmaar will feel they should have at least scored. If last week is anything to go by then we can expect another open game with chances for both teams. I expect Celtic to score tonight.
Alkmaar were given the weekend off to prepare for the game so should be refreshed. Celtic travel to The Netherlands without James Forrest and James McCarthy.
It seems Postecoglou has no intention of sitting back and trying to preserve the lead.
“If we sit back, we are just going to invite pressure on ourselves,” the manager said in the pre match press conference.
“Our best football has been going the other way, going forward, and if we score goals, it puts more pressure on the opposition.”
The winner will take a place in the Europa League while the lower will go into the Conference League.
Mick Kane hails from Glasgow. He has been hooked on Celtic since he went to his first game when he was 7. Celtic beat Hamilton 8-3 at Celtic Park on the 3rd of January 1987. His favourite player at the time, Brian McClair scored four goals.
He started going regular as a 16 year old when Celtic played at Hampden for the season, being a Southsider it meant a short train journey to get to Hampden. From then he has had a season ticket travelled around Europe for games as Celtic became the dominant force in Scottish football again. A nice change from growing up during Rangers run to 9 in a row.