Under strength Celtic look for 3 points against Ajax
Ajax is still looking for its first Eredivisie away win of the 2013-2014 season. The Saturday evening match at FC Twente ended in a 1-1 tie. After a tough battle, the Amsterdam team secured one point in the last minutes thanks to Kolbeinn Sigthórsson. This tells us they are not so strong away from home in Domestic football. We all know players raise their game for the Champions League and against Celtic in Glasgow you are either up for a European night under the lights or you fold, let’s hope Ajax fold
Ajax has suffered a painful loss in the League against PSV 4-0. A deluge of goals after the break – four of them in fifteen minutes – proved to be deadly to the national champions. Last Wednesday, the Amsterdam team suffered four goals against when they played in Barcelona. This closed a rather bizarre Ajax period of results; here are Ajax scores in last dozen or so games
Aug 2 – Ajax Amsterdam 3-0 Roda JC Kerkrade – 51.445 – Eredivisie
Aug 11 – AZ Alkmaar 3-2 Ajax Amsterdam – 16,268 – Eredivisie
Aug 18 – Ajax Amsterdam 2-1 Feyenoord Rotterdam – 52.581 – Eredivisie
Aug 23 – Heerenveen 3-3 Ajax Amsterdam – 25.205 – Eredivisie
Sep 1 – FC Groningen 1-1 Ajax Amsterdam – 21.670 – Eredivisie
Sep 14 – Ajax Amsterdam 2-1 PEC Zwolle – 51.488 – Eredivisie
Sep 18 – Barcelona 4-0 Ajax Amsterdam – 95,500 – UEFA Champions League
Sep 22 – PSV Eindhoven 4-0 Ajax Amsterdam – 33,300 – Eredivisie
Sep 25 – Ajax Amsterdam 4-2 FC Volendam – 27.715 – Dutch Cup
Sep 28 – F Ajax Amsterdam 6-0 Go Ahead Eagles – 48.587 – Eredivisie
Oct 1 – Ajax Amsterdam 1-1 AC Milan – 51.962 – UEFA Champions League
Oct 6 – Ajax Amsterdam 3-0 FC Utrecht – 49.294 – Eredivisie
Oct 19 – FC Twenty 1-1 Ajax Amsterdam – 30,000 – Eredivisie
They are in the Champions League because they are a good side, but you can see, away from home they are not doing so well and conceding goals all over. I just hope we have enough going forward to get at them. Player fitness wise for Ajax and Celtic here is where it stands, Scott Brown, Adam Matthews were already out, sadly Kris Commons The midfielder sustained a hamstring injury in Saturday’s 1-1 Scottish Premiership draw against Hibernian and is not expected to feature against the Dutch side at Parkhead.
Commons has become a key player for the Scottish champions since his move from Derby County and if he is ruled out as expected, the 30-year-old’s absence will be a major blow for manager Neil Lennon. “Kris knew straight away, he felt a pull and signalled to us,” Lennon said. “We don’t think it’s a tear, but if it is a strain it’s a couple of weeks, so it’s definitely not looking good for Tuesday. Losing Kris is a huge blow. He has been fantastic for us this season. “He’s at the top of his game and in great physical condition, so if he is out it will be a big loss.”
Celtic are bottom of Group H after losing their first two games against AC Milan and Barcelona without scoring a goal, and Lennon knows they can ill afford to slip up again.
“We can’t lose it, put it that way,” the former Northern Ireland midfielder said. “We are four points worse off in the group than we were at this stage last season. We have a bit of work to do. “Home form is important to us, but Ajax are a very good side. Let’s not beat about the bush. “They will give us plenty to think about, plenty of problems. But we are at home and I think we will be confident enough to take the game to them.” As well as almost certainly being without Commons, the Celtic will be missing suspended captain Scott Brown following his red card against Barcelona. Adam Matthews (shoulder) and former Ajax man Derk Boerrigter (ankle) are also ruled out, while there are doubts over Mikael Lustig (hip) and Emilio Izaguirre (illness).
Ajax will also be looking for their first win in the group after Mario Balotelli’s last-gasp penalty denied them victory in their last outing. Stefano Denswil looked to have snatched a late win for Frank de Boer’s side when he gave them a 90th-minute lead, but Balotelli rescued a point for Milan when he converted a controversial spot-kick with the last kick of the game. De Boer’s side come into the Celtic game on the back of a 1-1 draw at FC Twente in the Eredivisie on Saturday. Niklas Moisander sat out that encounter but is expected to be fit to face the Bhoys. Bojan (hamstring) is still out, however, while Lerin Duarte has not travelled to Scotland either.
Ajax, who are third in the Eredivisie table just as they are in Group H, were victorious 1-0 on their last visit to Parkhead back in August 2001 but they have not won away from home this season
Tune in here @TCNLiveblog on Twitter or here http://thecelticnetwork.com/blog/ for live text commentary of the game. The page will open at around 7pm and bring team news and interviews as they come in, as well as a full game commentary
August 8th 2001 – Ajax 1-3 Celtc, just to get you in the mood