Aim high, Sutton on Celtic’s Europa Conference League chances



Chris Sutonwriting in his Daily recording Today’s column claimed Celtic’s trophy aspirations are set to stretch further than domestic success this season, and believes the Hoops can target the European Conference League as ‘Celtic society can meddle’ with players like Roma, PSV Eindhoven, Marseille and Fenerbahce remaining in the competition.

Celtic face Bodo/Glimt in the first leg of the last 16 on Thursday night, and although Sutton is adamant the League is the priority and Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie with Raith Rovers should not be taken lightly, he also feels the Conference League should also be a realistic consideration.

“I understand why the Premiership crown is the end of the season, especially with the Champions League prize on the line for the winners. But I believe Celtic have put themselves in a position where they should think about winning everything, including the Europa Conference League.

“It would have seemed like an absurd idea in the summer, when Ange Postecoglou inherited a mess. Yet they are now in a position where they have the team and the momentum to challenge on all fronts.

Jota celebrates his goal against Aberdeen at Pittodrie. Photo: Jane Barlow

“Look, I’m not saying they’re going to win a quadruple and I don’t think the title is in the bag just because Celtic beat Rangers last week to get the upper hand. You can’t write off the Ibrox club yet as they have leveled off after Parkhead and are back in the hunt. He will go to the wire and even if Celtic fail, there is no denying the progress made this term and the optimism that will remain for the future under this manager. But if I was in this locker room, I wouldn’t think of being the second best in a competition.

“Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup could be a tricky test as John McGlynn is a crafty manager who will make his side tough to beat. Bodo/Glimt has shocked teams across Europe this season and will be another tough game. I don’t know if the fans would prefer Celtic to make the league a priority, but I would look to meet every challenge head-on.

“And I suspect Postecoglou will be the same. He doesn’t seem to have any backtracking and he’ll want to keep going. He can spin more now and you’d think Christopher Jullien could get knocked out against Raith. But it should be all guns blazing against Bodo and see where that takes them.

“There are some decent clubs in the Conference League – like Roma, PSV Eindhoven, Marseille and Fenerbahce. It’s a business Celtic can dabble in, so why not aim to go deep, and maybe up ‘at the end.

There’s no doubt Celtic will be primarily focused on the League run and Sunday’s clash with Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup, but should Celtic negotiate a tricky European tie with the Norwegian champions, who come just starting pre-season preparations and facing the loss of players key to last season’s title success, then a place in the quarter-finals would once again have everyone dreaming of the romance of a European final on the 25th may.

And Sutton is absolutely right, this is UEFA’s third tier tournament, and as such Celtic should no longer fear any team in the competition, especially with the sort of form that Ange Postecoglou has at this time.

In other words, do we think any of these teams remaining in the tournament would be confident of taking on Celtic over two legs and coming out on top? Probably not. As such, Celtic have as good a chance as anyone to progress, and we should have the ambition to believe we can reach the final in Tirana and lift the inaugural Conference League trophy.

Niall J.

Source link


Comments are closed.