FK Sarajevo manager Husref Musemic has admitted that he was itching to avoid Celtic in yesterday’s Champions League draw.
The Bosnian champions and the Hoops will meet for the first time ever this season. Celtic, meanwhile, will be looking to reach the group stages for the third time in four years. As for Sarajevo, they’ve never made the groups in either the Champions League or Europa League.
And that’s perhaps shown in the lack of confidence Musemic has in his side to overcome the Scottish giants. Celtic supporters wouldn’t have minded too much who they got in the opening round, but the Sarajevo boss definitely did.
Speaking in the Scotsman, Musemic gave a fresh and honest verdict on the draw.
“I watched the draw and honestly hoped we would not get Celtic. But that’s the way the balls came out and it’s up to us to play whatever opponent we get. It’s the toughest draw we could have got but also the most attractive opponent which should make it a great spectacle when they come to our stadium.
“I followed Celtic quite a lot last year. We were able to watch their game against Alashkert in the Champions League qualifiers because we were in Armenia at the same time. But they have probably changed since then after Brendan Rodgers left to go back to England.
“We need to be smarter and have more discipline and concentration when we play in Europe. I believe we can find ways to confront them and achieve a favourable result in Glasgow which will give us a chance in the second leg in Sarajevo.”
A familiar face
Musemic may be a familiar face for some of the slightly older Celtic supporters. But you could also be forgiven for questioning why, as Musemic played just half a season at Hearts back in 1989 before leaving for Yugoslavia.
The former Jambos forward recalls a 3-1 defeat to Celtic as a “great memory” of his career too. He’ll be fully aware of the quality his side is up against in three weeks’ time.
Celtic will always be big favourites at this stage of the competition against the majority of teams. So much so that many sides outside of Sarajevo would’ve been fearing drawing us out the hat.
But we’ve all seen just how big an effect complacency can have on Celtic in the past. The Lincoln Red Imps is the stand-out one, but you can also look at ties against Astana and Hapoel Be’er Sheva in recent years. Celtic nearly crumbled due to being complacent over first-leg leads against both sides. Similar arrogance can’t afford to creep in this year.
Neil Lennon will be under pressure from the off. Supporters will be backing him in full voice, and it’s imperative we get our Champions League campaign off to a flyer at Parkhead.
It’s down to Celtic to show just why the likes of Sarajevo and Musemic should’ve been fearing us come kick-off.