Scottish journalist Stuart Hodge has predicted Celtic to struggle in Europe defensively this season.
How have Celtic fared this season?
It’s been an iffy start to Ange Postecoglou’s reign as Hoops manager. Their campaign got off to the worst possible start when they were beaten on the opening day, and whilst they responded with two 5-0 victories, they suffered defeat to Rangers in the Old Firm derby last month and sit fifth.
Celtic might have progressed to the last eight of the Scottish Cup but have struggled in Europe and saw their Champions League campaign end at the first hurdle after they were knocked out by Danish outfit Midtjylland.
The Hoops did safely navigate their way through the remaining two qualifying rounds to reach the group stages of the Europa League but face a difficult-looking group having been draw to play Ferencvarosi, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Betis.
Celtic have been in red-hot form going forward this season, scoring 31 times in just 12 matches, but have conceded 12 times in that period, keeping just five clean sheets.
With those defensive statistics in mind, Hodge has predicted Postecoglou’s side to struggle at the back.
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What did Hodge say?
He told GIVEMESPORT: “In terms of how he chooses to change it up, I don’t want to second guess him because I think he’s a guy that knows his own mind.
“But whatever way he goes with it, I expect Celtic to have goals in them , but unfortunately, I don’t think the defence has much chance of a clean sheet in any European exertion.”
What can Celtic expect in Europe?
As ever, Celtic’s European adventure will be defined on how they fare at home. They’ve historically struggled for results on their travels, so their progression from the group stages will likely rest on whether they can work their magic at Parkhead and produce some huge performances on their own patch.
The Hoops are unbeaten in their three home European matches this term, scoring six times and conceding once, albeit against lesser opposition, but it should give them some confidence ahead of their opener with Real Betis tonight.