Celtic vs Malmo - A look back at the horror show of their last meeting

By David Walton

August 6, 2018

As old foes potentially lie in wait in the Champions League playoff round, we take a look back at the last time Celtic faced Malmo in Europe three years ago.

The Swedes or indeed Videoton of Hungary await Brendan Rodgers’ men in the final qualifying round of the Champions League. However, Celtic still have a very tricky looking tie on paper against AEK Athens of Greece.

And Celtic fans don’t need to look too far back when thinking of previous meetings with Malmo. Both will be favourites to progress past their respective ties.

Ronny Deila’s Celtic seemed to be making good progress. They had just one final qualifying tie to negotiate before reaching the groups of the Champions League back in 2015.

Below we take a look back at how both legs of the tie went:

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CELTIC 3-2 MALMO (August 15th 2015)

Berget celebrates grabbing a vital second goal for Malmo at Celtic Park (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

Confidence was sky-high for Celtic heading into a clash they’ll have felt was very winnable. Expectation inside Parkhead was as high as it had been under Norwegian Deila.

Dedryck Boyata, Saidy Janko, Scott Allan, and Nadir Ciftci were just some of Deila’s latest recruits. Celtic had squeezed past Qarabag after powering past Stjarnan of Iceland in the previous two qualifiers.

And there was no questioning the manager’s team selection after 10 minutes. Goals from Leigh Griffiths and Nir Bitton had Celtic cruising to the group stages.

There didn’t appear to be much threat coming from Malmo however. Parkhead sang in unison at what was looking like a relatively straightforward tie.

However, Malmo snatched a goal against the run of play at the start of the second half through former Celt Jo Inge Berget. Berget was ironically Deila’s first signing, before swiftly being moved on after failing to make an impression.

Celtic continued to stay in control, however, and added a third soon after from a looping Griffiths header.

There was a strong hunger in Celtic’s play on this night, and they looked like scoring on many of the occasions they rampaged up the pitch.

Yet defensively, huge gaps still persisted. Malmo had threatened on some counter-attacking occasions, and would’ve felt hard done by had they only scored one goal.

And as Celtic tried to play out time, they were ruthlessly punished at the death, when that man Berget popped up again by slamming home from a corner in added time.

MALMO 2-0 CELTIC (August 25th 2015)

Ronny Deila ponders Malmo tie as Celtic crumble in Sweden (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

A timid performance in Sweden ultimately led to Celtic surrendering their first-leg lead and falling into the Europa League.

Far too many of Deila’s men produced poor performances on the night. It also really started the beginning of the end for the Norwegian rookie.

That’s not to say Celtic didn’t have their moments. Griffiths and Stuart Armstrong both came close to converting a crucial away goal early on. However, Celtic’s passing was rugged and off-target from the off.

It wasn’t an overly-atmospheric venue either, yet the Hoops squad seemed to melt regardless.

Even Virgil Van Dijk, who moved on to Southampton just days after this defeat, was weak in the challenge and beaten in the air for Marcus Rosenberg’s opener.

Berget was also looking lively as he looked like putting a final nail in Celtic’s Champions League coffin. He came close on a couple of occasions, with Craig Gordon consistently saving the Parkhead men from a real going over.

Celtic’s back-line involving Van Dijk and Boyata were being bullied constantly by Rosenberg, and belief was quickly evaporating from Deila’s men.

After several close calls for Malmo, they finally grabbed their second to kill the tie with over half an hour to go. Another cross ball was won in the air by Felipe Carvalho, whose header bounced off Boyata’s foot and into the net for 2-0.

Nir Bitton did have a goal disallowed in the first half in what looked like a decision lacking in justice, but other than that Celtic created nothing on the night and ultimately went out of the Champions League with a whimper.