AIK assistant says players are excited for Celtic tie

By David Walton

August 20, 2019

AIK assistant manager Sean O’Shea has stated that everyone associated with the club were excited when they drew Celtic.

The Irishman is the number two to Rikard Norling with the Stockholm-based side. Growing up in Ireland, the man himself is a huge Celtic supporter. Naturally, therefore, the tie with Neil Lennon’s side is a dream for O’Shea.

And the excitement he feels appears to have spread ahead of our Europa League crunch clash this week. The first leg will be at Celtic Park, with the second taking place next week at the Friends Arena.

AIK’s Friends Arena should also hold a good atmosphere next week (Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)

It’s sure to be a difficult tie, but O’Shea has been taking a moment with the Scottish Sun to reflect on his Parkhead trip and talk up the excitement around his club.

“We used to go to the local Irish centre and watch the Old Firm games on TV, so when the draw threw us together I was buzzing but I wasn’t the only one.

“Everyone at AIK is excited about the prospect of playing Celtic. We know about the history of the club and the stature they have. Our supporters are really looking forward to it. When tickets for the first leg went on sale they sold a massive number in the first few hours.

“I’m looking forward to the game at Celtic Park because I went on a stadium tour when I was ten years old but I’ve never been to a match.”

Sean O’Shea’s comments have to be put to the side

These are all positive words from O’Shea. It’s always nice to hear about clubs being excited to come to Parkhead and take on the Hoops. The legendary arena of Celtic Park will do that to anyone.

But at the same time, Celtic can’t be getting caught up in any romanticism the tie may contain. O’Shea’s Celtic ties are legitimate, but he’s very much the enemy on Thursday night.

Celtic need a big response to the Cluj defeat (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

For the truth is that defeat in this Europa League playoff would be an absolute disaster. Not simply due to the fact we won’t have qualified for Europe, but mainly due to the last seven days we’ve all had to endure. There’s enough embarrassment going around the club just now after the Cluj and Dunfermline matches. Adding AIK to that list simply can’t happen.

Progression, or a good success on Thursday night at least, and some confidence will be undeniably restored. That’s just how this game works. You win and everything gets a bit rosier. You lose and it’s an absolute disaster. That’s life at Celtic, and it will stay that way until the end of time.

Neil Lennon needs a big win on Thursday (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But considering the weight of responsibility this current crop of Celtic players have on their shoulders, they need a confidence-booster to take into the upcoming domestic clashes with Hearts and Rangers respectively.

So it’s always nice to see a friendly Celtic-minded face getting his chance to come to Parkhead. But at the end of the day, we’ll all be hoping he’ll leave on the back of a doing.