Celtic defender Carl Starfelt picked a surprising factor that he believes will suit the boys against Bodø / Glimt in the next Europa League round.
Specifically, Starfelt believes the plastic pitch at the Aspmyra Stadion could actually help, rather than hamper Celtic in Norway.
Plastic pitches have been a problem for Celtic in recent years. This season alone, Tony Macaroni’s surface has been a factor in the Bhoys’ poor display and a 1-0 loss. Kilmarnock Rugby Park and Hamilton’s New Douglas Park also have artificial surfaces. Celtic fans were relieved to see both clubs fall in the league.
However, Starfelt, very sensitive to Scandinavian winter football, does not see it as a problem. The Sweden international said [Herald]: “It’s a difficult draw.
“I have friends who play in the Norwegian League so I have followed them and I know they are a very good team that have done really well in the last two seasons.
“They like to play a bit like us, with a lot of possession and great press. [Bodø/Glimt] have a lot of energy and like to attack football. So it will be an interesting tie with both teams trying to dominate the ball.
“They have artificial terrain. But I think it may be fine for us because in Scandinavia at this time of year you are playing either really bad turf or artificial turf so I’ll take that option.
Celtic defender Carl Starfelt believes Europa Conference League opponents’ ground is a boost, not a hindrance
It should be pointed out that the artificial Bodø / Glimt surface is not something you would play at 5. The Aspmyra Stadion surface has actually won praise.
According to the EMEA Synthetic Turf Council (ESTC), the use of the Bodø / Glimt pitch has been rigorously tested. He is boasting [ESTC]: “predictable ball rebound throughout the year, excellent shock absorption, reduced injury and increased player comfort and performance.”
It didn’t help Roma and José Mourinho much in the Europa League. But their 6-1 defeat [BBC] The two-time UEFA Champions League winner has chosen a second-tier side to face the Norwegian champions.
At this level, Celtic do not really find excuses. They shouldn’t plan to do so either.
The reality is that in more difficult climates like northern Norway, it makes sense to have synthetic pitches. If the case can be done in Scotland, it can certainly be done closer to the Arctic Circle.
The Norwegian champions are certainly one of the toughest tests Celtic could have landed after yesterday’s draw. However, with Celtic d’Ange having had a winter break and inevitably adding quality to the squad, there is room for optimism in the Europa Conference League.
No plastic or no plastic.
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