AZ Alkmaar boss looking to use 'intense' Celtic Park experience ahead of Dundee Utd European tie

By Lewis Laird

August 3, 2022

AZ Alkmaar boss Pascal Jansen has admitted he is looking to pull inspiration from his side’s ‘intense’ Celtic Park trip last season as they prepare to take on Dundee United at Tannadice on Thursday evening.

After finishing in 5th place in the Eredivisie last season, Alkmaar are looking to qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference league.

Entering at the second round stage, AZ has already navigated one round of qualifying and been drawn against Scottish opposition, as they get set to face Dundee United across a two-legged tie.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

Of course, Alkmaar’s last trip to Scotland came just 12 months ago, when Pascal Jansen’s side travelled to Glasgow to face Celtic in the Europa League play-off round.

It was Ange Postecoglou’s side who came away victorious across two legs, winning 3-2 on aggregate and sending the Dutch side into the Conference League group stages.

Despite the disappointment in the tie, which included a 2-0 loss at Celtic Park, Jansen has insisted that he and his squad have taken a lot from that night, experiencing an ‘intense’ atmosphere.

The 49-year-old is hoping that experience will carry over for their trip to Tannadice on Thursday evening, as he spoke about his admiration for football in the UK.

He said [Daily Record]: “I was born in London, in Hendon-Red Hill, so I am very fond of British football. It’s great to be back. We played Celtic last season in a qualifier, I enjoyed that, and hopefully, I will enjoy my time in Dundee too.

“I learned a lot from the Celtic game last season, we still have some players in the squad who were part of that game. We learned a lot from it, it was something else – the stadium was packed, you couldn’t hear yourself speak.

“We enjoyed competing with one of the top teams in Scotland. The game was intense, as British football is in general, so we expect more of the same tomorrow.”

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

A tough test awaits as Scottish sides aim to join Celtic in the European group stages.

Thinking back 12 months, AZ Alkmaar provided a tough test for Ange Postecoglou’s squad, who were in the early stages of a rebuild.

However, across two legs, this Celtic side showed their ability to fight for the result, which was a significant factor in winning two trophies last season.

Tomorrow and next week’s game should prove to be a difficult tie for Dundee United, as they undergo changes of their own at the club, with Jack Ross recently arriving.

It is crucial that United pick up a positive result at Tannadice, should they want to have any chance of advancing to the play-off stages.

Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images

So far, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for Scottish sides in qualifying for Europe, with Celtic enjoying the luxury of not having to go through that process this summer.

Thankfully, we as supporters can look forward to the Champions League group stages without that hassle as we prepare to embark upon the world’s biggest club competition once again!

In other news, The 2021 Celtic summer signing whose future still needs to be resolved.