Cluj Director Bogdan Mara claims Slavia Prague are better than Celtic

By David Walton

August 5, 2019

CFR Cluj director Bogdan Mara has claimed that Slavia Prague are better than Celtic.

The Romanian chief made the dangerous remark just moments after the Champions League playoff draw was announced (DigiSport).

Celtic or Cluj have been confirmed as Prague’s playoff round opponents. The winner of the third qualifying round tie will have just one more obstacle to overturn in order to reach the wonderland of the Champions League group stages.

Neil Lennon is closing in on being a Champions League manager once again (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Celtic, as always, will treat their opponents with respect in the build-up. Mara, however, didn’t exactly show too much back when he spoke to DigiSport about the draw.

“Slavia Prague is stronger than Celtic. It is a bigger team than Young Boys. With the money invested and how they looked in the Europa League last year – it’s a scary team. But we better talk more after Celtic.

“Dan Petrescu knows how to motivate the players. He’s analysed Celtic’s team – that’s why we don’t see him anymore. He stays in the office from morning until evening. He will surely find the weak points to defeat this team.

“We are convinced it will be a full stadium. There was already a ticket queue. We need all the fans to get a great result together.”

Time to shut him up Celtic

It’s extremely presumptuous of Mara to assert that Slavia are a better team than Celtic. After all, it’s not as if he will have watched much of either side over the last year.

The Champions League qualifiers are getting intense (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

Prague, of course, had a fine Europa League campaign last year. They managed to make the quarter-finals, before Chelsea managed to knock them out with a 5-3 aggregate success. They knocked out the likes of Genk and Sevilla before losing to the eventual Europa winners.

Meanwhile, we failed to get past Valencia in the last-32 stage of the competition – two rounds before Slavia themselves were KO’d. But we proved last season in Europe that we still have it in us to get a big result or two.

Celtic have some real flair throughout their side (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Every Celtic fan would be disappointed if we were knocked out of Europe by a side such as Slavia. Not because they’re a poor outfit, but because it’s what we expect. Supporters expect Celtic to beat teams like Slavia Prague, and we’re quite right to think so too.

Mara seems awfully confident of meeting Prague in the next round, however, so it’s time for us to shut him up and show him just how strong we really are. Celtic have quality players at their disposal. It’s time they start proving it against decent European opposition.