Mark Wotte boldly claims Celtic could beat AZ Alkmaar by three goals

By David Walton

August 17, 2021

Experienced Dutch manager Mark Wotte has surprisingly backed Celtic to maul AZ Alkmaar in their Europa League first-leg match at Parkhead tomorrow night.

Celtic host the Eredivisie side in a straight shootout to see who qualifies for UEFA’s secondary club competition. Alkmaar come into the match having lost their first competitive game of the season and having failed to replace some key summer departures.

The likes of Calvin Stengs and Myron Boadu departed in the summer along with number one shot-stopper Marco Bizot. AZ may have raked in plenty for their services, but quality replacements have so far been left thin on the ground.

And Wotte believes the tie against Celtic comes far too early for the Dutch club. Speaking to the Scottish Sun, Wotte made an outlandish claim regarding the potential scoreline:

“I understand Celtic are playing exceptionally well at the moment — they have found form for the new manager Ange Postecoglou — and so they must be seen as favourites to win in Glasgow. It is possible they could win by three goals — and that would effectively secure a place for Celtic in the Europa League group stage.

“Alkmaar have a lot of young players and I don’t think they are mature enough just yet to beat Celtic. If it was the team of last year going to Parkhead then I think it would be two teams equal in quality. But it is not the case now after Alkmaar sold those players.

The next fortnight could well define Celtic’s season

The next fortnight could well define Celtic’s season
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“The manager is good and works well with the resources he has. But beating Celtic at the moment is a tough task for him. If Celtic approach this match in a serious way — which I’m sure they will because of what is at stake — they will be too powerful and mature for Alkmaar. They have a nice stadium, the fans are close to the pitch which is also usually excellent. So, Celtic have to do the job in Glasgow, minimum 2-0 or 3-0.”

Mark Wotte not wrong; Celtic need to go for broke against AZ Alkmaar

We know what Celtic are like in Europe. You just can’t trust them to take any lead away from home. It’s almost a recipe for disaster if we take a 1-0 lead to Holland, for example. Would you really bank on Celtic holding onto it?

If Alkmaar are there for the taking at Celtic Park, we need to inflict maximum damage. If we go 1-0 ahead, we need to go all out for the second goal. The same goes for if we’re 2-0 up and chasing a third.

The lack of impact away goals have this year should make Celtic approach this game with real attacking intent. It will hopefully encourage us to try and put the tie to bed in Glasgow.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Some may feel that’s disrespectful to AZ. After all, we drew 1-1 with Midtjylland at Celtic Park. We’re in no position to start barking orders of three-goal winning margins against Eredivisie sides.

But there’s no denying we’re facing the Dutch side at the right time. They’ve been stripped of much of the quality that had them flying last season. Now, they find themselves at an early stage of their rebuild and coming to Celtic Park to face a free-flowing Hoops side.

We needs to show some confidence and arrogance tomorrow night. It’s time we stopped feeling honoured with any win in Europe. Tomorrow, we need to focus on bagging a healthy lead – next week’s second leg won’t be easy.

In other news, Confirmed: Ben Davies to Celtic saga ends as Liverpool player joins Sheffield United