Celtic should head into Thursday’s Europa League game against Rennes full of confidence. The team have won their first five league games for the first time since 2010.
Neil Lennon has got his team playing well after what was a poor start to the season. However, there will be some aspects of Celtic’s game that the Hoops boss will want to improve on, especially in Europe.
That is Celtic’s habit of conceding the first goal in Europe. The Hoops have done that three times in Europe this season in eight games.
Found it difficult to recover from setback vs Cluj
The first two times they were able to recover, against Sarajevo and Cluj. However, when it happened in the home tie against Cluj, it put Celtic in a spot of bother they found it difficult to recover from.
Conceding the first goal in Europe has been an issue for the Hoops in Europe for a while. It will have to be cut out, especially in the group stages of the Europa League.
It makes a tough task all the more difficult. Games in Europe are hard enough without Celtic starting them off by giving away the first goal.
Team needs a platform to build on
It will be a different matter if the Hoops can score the first goal in Rennes. It would give the team a platform to build on.
Neil Lennon hasn’t managed the Hoops in a group stage match in Europe for six years. It will be intriguing to see how he approaches the game.
He may well opt to be more cautious than he would be for a league game. That would make sense. It would also perhaps mean that the Hoops are less likely to concede the first goal in the game.
Celtic will want to avoid defeat in Rennes to get the Europa League campaign off to a good start. A good way to do that will be to avoid conceding the first goal.