Celtic v HJK Helsinki – the new season begins

Well tonight’s the night that we get our season under way with a home tie against HJK Helsinki of Finland in the first leg of 3rd qualifying round of the Champions league. The long and the short of it is that we need a win and most importantly a clean sheet.

Now we are up against it a bit considering HJK are roughly half way through their season and have already demolished Icelandic KR side 9 – 1 on aggregate with a 7 – 0 win at home in the first leg. So they sound like a formidable side or are they ?

I watched the highlights of the first leg when HJK struck seven passed KR and to be perfectly honest that score line was not a true reflection of the might of tonight’s opponents. I would say that on any given day HJK would beat KR but not 7 -0 it would be more like 3- 1.

Throughout the game the Icelandic side cut through the Fins an many occasions and if they had a Gary Hooper in their ranks they could have scored 3 or 4 goals. The Fins had lady luck on their side with own goals ,deflected goals and penalties. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying they will be easy opposition I’m just pointing out that the 7 – 0 score flattered then a bit.

I’m sure when our bhoys get on the pitch and the noise starts HJK will know they are in a serious game. We have class players like Mulgrew, Samaras, Kayal, Wanyama, Hooper, Commons and forest etc. If these guys are on their game and press the fins every time they get the ball then we can get a decent result.

It will be interesting to see how we shape up at the back. It may be Mulgrew and Lustig that play centre half with Izzy and Mathews making up the back four. After last season’s performances I’m very confident that we have a good keeper who has finally learned how to take control of his area.

Like last season what shape will the midfield take? That will be Lennon’s biggest challenge but I think he may go with Brown, Kayal, Wanyama and Samaras. Up front it’s got to be Hooper and commons if fit. If both Commons and stokes are fit then Lenny will have a bit of juggling to do in the midfield or he may even start with Forrest and sick Victor in at centre half instead of Lustig. So once again we have a good problem for the manager lots of good players available it’s up to him now to sort out who goes where.

Whatever team or formation we start with I’m sure it won’t be the team or formation we end with. So all the best to the Champions. It’s time to step up to the plate.


****Unfortunately I can’t make the game so I would like to as fellow supporters to send us match images . There is a link in on the front page in the easy navigation area which allows you to send us you pics. Your name will get a mention on all the pic you send and we use. I doubt I’ll be able to make many games unless work pics up so  I’d be delighted if people could send images from games both home and away throughout the season to add to our picture galleries.



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