KR Reykjavik manager Runar Kristinsson rueing Celtic's competitive advantage

By David Walton

August 10, 2020

KR Reykjavik manager Runar Kristinsson is ruing the fact that Celtic will already be up and running whilst his side awaits the return of domestic football.

KR and Celtic are due to face each other next week in a one-legged shootout in the Champions League first qualifying round. The Hoops are overwhelming favourites to win the tie, scheduled to take place at Celtic Park on either August 18th/19th.

However, the game will take place in front of no supporters due to the ongoing health pandemic. It’s something that has taken the excitement away from the game for Kristinsson, who believes matches are too “boring” as things stand.

KR Reykjavik manager Runar Kristinsson (Photo credit should read NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP via Getty Images)

And speaking in comments published by the Scottish Sun, the KR boss certainly didn’t sound over-enthused about the upcoming tie.

“It’s very boring just now in football both for players and fans. Of course, our players would want the chance to experience the atmosphere in Glasgow, but it is not possible. We did play Celtic elsewhere before and the atmosphere was crazy. But now it will be like playing a practice match at our training centre, except it’s on real grass.

“We need to be on top of our game in every way to have a hope. We are an unseeded team in the first qualifying round and we have to accept it will be very difficult.

“Not playing games before the Celtic match will make it even more difficult for us and other Icelandic teams. It was hard enough before in Europe.”

No excuses – just get the job done Celtic

Everything is weighed in Celtic’s favour here. They should have the home advantage (even though Parkhead has yet to be officially confirmed as the venue), and will have been playing football since mid-July too.

That’s not something KR can boast. Wherever the venue for the match is, it won’t be in the comforts of Iceland for them. In addition to that, their last competitive game was on July 30th. That means by the time the game comes around, they will have had nearly three weeks without any competitive action.

You also have to feel for Kristinsson too. Twice he’s been drawn against Celtic in his career, and on both occasions he’s been robbed of experiencing the Parkhead atmosphere as a manager.

Celtic Park / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Indeed, in 2014, Celtic faced Reykjavik at Murrayfield due to ongoing work at Celtic Park revolving around the Commonwealth Games that year. Now, the health pandemic means that even if the game is in Glasgow, Kristinsson will have to deal with an empty stadium.

That, however, could backfire on us. With the lack of a raucous Celtic backing behind us, it could easily take the pressure off of KR with its training ground atmosphere.

Celtic will have to be wary, but it should be comfortable enough regardless.

In other news, Bologna are reportedly confident of securing a deal for a Celtic-linked teenager.