Copenhagen star Kalle Johnsson's Parkhead comments prove Celtic Park is still feared
The idea of Celtic Park becoming a European fortress once again may have been laughed at after Thursday, but it may still hold a fear-factor.
Celtic were dumped out of the Europa League after a dismal 3-1 home loss to Copenhagen. The Danes currently sit six places ahead of us in the UEFA rankings, but the Hoops were still favourites to progress after collecting a 1-1 draw in Denmark.
Disappointingly, it was also our second defeat at Celtic Park in European competition this season. Cluj were the last side to win here before Copenhagen, with question marks over whether teams still fear coming to Parkhead an appropriate subject.
However, going by Copenhagen shot-stopper Kalle Johnsson’s comments, it seems there wasn’t much belief amongst the Danes that they would pull it off. Speaking in comments published by the Sunday Mail (01/03, page 63), here’s what Johnsson had to say:
“We didn’t come to Glasgow expecting to win, not really. But during the game I felt very confident. We played well even though Celtic had us under pressure a few times in the match.
“We stayed calm and played our game just like we did in the second half in Copenhagen. We made it difficult for Celtic to create chances. The penalty felt like it might be a turning point. When they scored on their home pitch they got a real boost.
“You feel what’s coming could be tough with 15 minutes left. I had a feeling they would put us under pressure after that. But we kept calm and used the space that they left when they tried to go more offensive. And now? With this type of performance we can go up against a lot of teams.”
Celtic Park clearly still has a fear factor
Regardless of whether we were good on Thursday night or not, it’s clear that Parkhead still puts some fear into the opposition.
Johnsson has openly admitted that they didn’t expect to win in Glasgow. Much of that will have been down to how we did in Copenhagen. However, a large part will also be due to our performances at home this season.
Remember, Celtic have put AIK, Cluj, Lazio, and Rennes to the sword at Parkhead in this year’s Euro exploits. All of those results will have helped instill real doubt into Copenhagen’s minds.
Granted, they came to Celtic Park and done a number on us. Then again that was only after we had dominated the opening 45 minutes and missed a couple of genuine opportunities. Even so, they got the win to end our four-game European winning run in Glasgow.
But it’s clear Parkhead still has an aura to it that other teams respect. That’s something we can take into next season when we try once again to qualify for the Champions League. It goes to show how a few positive home results in European football can bring back that Parkhead fear-factor.