Celtic have received a boost ahead of their forthcoming Europa League first leg against AIK with the news that the Swedish side’s forward Tarik Elyounoussi will miss the match.
The experienced Norwegian striker is to miss the Glasgow clash after being booked in both legs of his side’s third round victory over FC Sheriff. The Evening Times have some quotes from a pretty gutted Elyounoussi.
“It’s a massive disappointment to me because I would have loved to have played at Celtic Park,” he says.
“It’s a real punishment, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. In future I will have to calm down my temper a little.”
Celtic must make the most of Elyounoussi absence
His loss will almost certainly be Celtic’s gain. The 31-year-old would have been a big threat to the Hoops defence, and still will be in the return leg. He’s netted nine goals in 14 league starts so far this season and also has a Champions League strike to his name.
His list of previous clubs includes Hoffenheim, Qarabag and Olympiacos so he clearly has something about him.
Celtic really can’t afford to feel sorry for themselves in this tie against the Swedish champions. Make no mistake about it, it’s going to be a struggle. They have some experienced heads – like Elyounoussi and Seb Larsson – who have been around the circuit long enough to know what to expect.
We will rightly be favourites for the tie, but with the first leg at home there really is little margin for error. We must register a commanding lead for the return leg in Sweden. Otherwise we could be staring down the barrel at more European heartache.