It's taken 1 game for Celtic to benefit from UEFA rule change

By David Walton

July 21, 2021

The new UEFA decision to abolish the away-goal rule saw Celtic participate for the first time last night.

The Hoops took on FC Midtjylland in our UCL second qualifying round first-leg clash at Celtic Park. In recent years, we’ve seen just how costly away goals have proven to be.

Not only in terms of results, but in terms of how teams approach certain matches. Back in 2019, for example, Celtic and Cluj were tied at 4-4 heading into the final minutes of the tie. However, because the Romanians had netted three away goals, we were heading out and had to go for broke. Celtic would be caught out and conceded another late goal to lose the tie outright.

But UEFA’s new stance would’ve seen Celtic able to take a more pragmatic approach to the game.

In last night’s game against Midtjylland, once again Celtic would’ve had to go for broke at 1-1. If the tie would’ve been a year or two ago, we would be heading out.

Celtic 1-1 FC Midtjylland | LIVE Reaction

However, Midtjylland now can’t qualify should they only secure a 0-0 in Denmark. Their away goal has only led to the scoreline effectively being at 0-0 again,

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UEFA rule gives Celtic extra breathing space

This matters hugely. It means the Danes won’t be sitting back and trying to make things difficult for us next week. They’ll have to come out and find the goal that will take them through, just as we will.

It gives Celtic a great chance to hit on the counter and open Midtjylland up. Whereas in recent years they would’ve been able to stifle the game and pack their defence.

Granted, the same rules will apply should Celtic score two goals in Denmark. So long as Midtjylland bag another two at home themselves, the tie will be level and go to extra time.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

But Celtic’s failure to keep clean sheets in UCL qualifiers at Parkhead means that this is a rule that should suit us more often than not.

It’s only taken one matchday for us to feel the positive effects from it. Now it’s time for us to take advantage.

Celtic can approach the game in Denmark with patience. That should give the fans plenty of confidence that we can reset and secure progression.

In other news: Michael Stewart urges action from the Celtic board after last night