Have Celtic just blundered our chance for Birger Meling?

By David Walton

August 15, 2019

One of the more exciting stories of the transfer window so far has been our apparent pursuit of Rosenborg left-back Birger Meling.

The Scottish Sun broke the story on our potential move for Meling, who has played in four Champions League qualifying matches against Celtic. The left-back also fired in a fine strike to give Rosenborg a 1-0 lead at Parkhead back in 2018.

Overall, Meling has made a total of 30 appearances for Rosenborg this season. He can also play as a left-winger, and has even played at centre-midfield on occasion for the Norwegian outfit.

Birger Meling has experience of scoring at Celtic Park (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But question marks now have to be raised after results over the last couple of days.

Celtic were knocked out of the Champions League by Cluj on Tuesday night. The carrot we so often dangle in front of young players from Europe is now gone. All we have to offer is Europa League football. And we haven’t even qualified for that yet.

At the same time, Rosenborg were knocking out Maribor in convincing fashion. Meling’s side managed a convincing 6-2 rout against the Slovenians to set-up a Champions League playoff tie against Dinamo Zagreb.

Rosenborg have now managed to knock-out Linfield, BATE Borisov, and Maribor respectively.

Meling impressed once again against Maribor (SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

To sum up, they now have the potential of playing in European football’s premier competition – something Celtic can’t use to lure Meling to Parkhead.

Rosenborg’s left-back could be a difficult man to sign

Meanwhile, the lack of quality in our league is nothing to shout about either. It’s not an attractive league to come and compete in. The only way Celtic can advertise it now is by pointing to the players who’ve managed to go directly to the English Premier League thanks to their performances in Scotland.

But having Champions League football on top of that would’ve put us in a great position for Meling. It would be a huge surprise to see us sign him if Rosenborg now manage to make the Champions League. It will still be a tough ask for them against the Croatian champions. But even so, why would Meling then want to make what he could see as a sidewards step to another Europa League club?

Can we still lure Meling to Celtic Park? (Trond Tandberg/Getty Images)

Sure, we all know how big Celtic are, and how heated the rivalries in Scotland can be. But for the likes of Meling who has grown up in Norway, he won’t have that same understanding.

Celtic’s best hope is that Rosenborg are knocked out by Zagreb whilst we ourselves qualify for the Europa League. Swapping Champions League football for Europa League football doesn’t seem likely. It also just shows you how damaging Tuesday night’s defeat to Cluj was.

Hopefully, we can still pull this one out of the hat. But don’t be surprised if we’ve just blundered it this week.