3 reasons why Celtic can overcome Midtjylland and kickstart the Ange Postecoglou era

By David Walton

July 18, 2021

You can understand the pessimism heading into Celtic vs Midtjylland on Tuesday night as Ange Postecoglou makes his competitive bow.

It’s only pre-season and already we feel like we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve had the refreshing performances of the youngsters against Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic, before injuries aplenty seemed to occur against Bristol City last week.

Celtic then returned to Parkhead and suffered a 1-0 loss to Championship side Preston North End on Saturday. The poor nature of that display in particular has plenty pundits and fans worried about what we’ll produce on Tuesday.

However, here we take a look at three reasons why the Bhoys can overcome their Danish foes and get the Postecoglou era up and running with a big win.

1. Celtic are starting to get their injured players back already

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There were massive fears about the look of the squad heading into this one after the Bristol draw last Wednesday.

Karamoko Dembele, Mikey Johnston, Albian Ajeti, Vasilis Barkas, and Ismaila Soro all seemed to pick up an injury in one form or another. Yesterday, the likes of Soro, Ryan Christie, and Nir Bitton all missed out.

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However, there are already promising signs that the team we’ll put out on Tuesday won’t be anywhere near as youthful. Postecoglou has already confirmed that the three who missed the Preston game will return [Sky Sports].

In addition to that, Ajeti and Barkas both started against Preston and look ready to feature. The latter looked sharp too with a couple of fine saves to his name. Same goes for Edouard who played the final half-hour.

All of a sudden, it looks as though our team will appear strong enough on paper. It won’t be the youthful look we had for long spells vs Preston.

Even if Johnston and Dembele continue to miss out, many of the rest of our players will be back. That should give fans a bit more confidence that we won’t see a repeat performance of Saturday later this week.

2. The Celtic midfield

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Whilst there have been areas of the team affected by injuries and squad shortages this summer, the Celtic midfield isn’t one of them.

The likes of David Turnbull, Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic, Ryan Christie, and Soro will all likely be available against Midtjylland. In other words, all of our strongest midfielders, whether defensive, central, or attacking, will be fit and ready to play.

Postecoglou has mixed and matched with his engine room in recent weeks. Game-time has been given to plenty of the youngsters at Lennoxtown. He’s yet to really play with what you would consider our first-choice central midfield.

Even yesterday in the loss to Preston, there were so many youngsters featuring. It was only in the closing stages that some of the senior midfielders came on.

Celtic simply won’t be as weak centrally as we’ve seen in the last two matches. We have players in there with either blistering potential or Champions League experience. Players who we know on their day should be too much for Midtjylland. Players who should have plenty of chemistry with each other to add into the mix.

Yes, there are concerns in other areas of the team. But the midfield? That doesn’t look like being one of them.

3. Midtjylland are hardly firing on all cylinders either

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So much of the focus has been on Celtic’s struggles in pre-season. Get a look at Midtjylland’s current state of play too.

New manager Bo Henriksen has just suffered defeat in his first competitive game in charge to OB. In addition to that, four of their top stars want to leave the club and are likely to miss the Celtic game [Ekstra Bladet].

Not to mention the fact that another of their players is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid during their pre-season trip of Poland.

Henriksen has a lot of work to do trying to piece together his own starting XI for Tuesday night. To assume Midtjylland will just stroll into Celtic Park and teach us a lesson is naive.

The Danish side have plenty of issues of their own. Not to mention their own new signings have hardly had time to blend in before this one either.

Celtic vs Midtjylland is going to be a scrap. But there are certainly plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the fixture.

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