Rennes v Celtic Preview
Tomorrow sees us venture into Europe for the first match in our Europa League group stage campaign. A match against old foes Rennes.
Rennes are currently flying high in their domestic league,in second place with ten points from five games. Although that is a tremendous start to the season for them and includes a win against Paris St Germain,their three wins all came last month. Their form this month is not quite up to that,with a home defeat by Nice and a goalless draw in Brest.
Utterly meaningless of course. It’s not like those stats prove that their season has peaked!
The last time we played Rennes was about eight years ago. A 1-1 draw over there was followed by perhaps Giorgios Samaras’ best night in The Hooooops. We lost a cheap early goal,falling asleep at a corner,and were ragged thereafter. But another poor decision from the referee saw Sammi just say-Sod this!-and he single-handedly took the game to them. Actually,he didn’t score that night,but he was completely unplayable. A Man of the Match tour de force,and we could do with one of them tomorrow night from someone.
There are only two survivors from those games who are still with us-James Forrest and Fraser Forster-though the likes of Adam Matthews,Charlie Mulgrew,Joe Ledley and Gary Hooper have been fleetingly linked on here and elsewhere with a return to us. If little else,it shows what a young team we had playing in those matches. In another eight years time there’s every chance that James and Fraser will still be wearing those Hoooops,and there’s definitely a couple of others that I would simply love to stay with us for that long.
But in the modern game,that is probably an unrealistic daydream.
What’s not unrealistic though should be for us to go there with high hopes of a good result. Our record away from home in the group stages of this tournament is nearly as bad as it is in the Champions League,but we can gloss over that. It’s my article,so that’s what I’ve decided! We certainly can’t go in to tomorrow night with trepidation simply because of past experiences. There wouldn’t be any point in us packing the suitcases if we did that for every away match!
Much of the outcome of the match will be dependent on how we approach it. I’m not entirely sure that we can go over there with the simple intent of keeping it tight and hoping to hit them on the break-although it may be that Rennes come out with the intent of hitting us hard,early and often. We have to be ready for an all-out assault on our goal from the start,but ready too to take any chances hitch come our way. It will be no night for the faint of heart,but we are in good form domestically so should have nothing to fear.
Again,our front line is fairly solid and capable and whatever combination Lenny picks should have a goal or two in them. But I reckon we could do with some restraint too,ensure that the wide players are tracking back and covering the danger when needed. I also don’t think it is a night for playing both Ryan and CalMac. Either or,IMO. And a disciplined defensive display from Broonie and Ollie.
At the back,I think it picks itself at the moment,injuries notwithstanding. So Elhamed,Jullien,Ajer,Boli.
Even at that,and with Fraser in goal,I don’t think we can expect a clean sheet. But I’m confident too that we can get a goal. So while I’m certainly not going to be caught out making a prediction,I’ll hazard a guess that it will be 1-1,with the next goal the winner!!!
Just play to your strengths,Celtic. That should do it.
Above article by BMCUWP.