UEFA’s decision to halt Bayer Leverkusen from training on the Ibrox turf tomorrow is a real concern for Celtic.
The Daily Record earlier reported that European football’s governing body has ordered Leverkusen not to train on the Ibrox pitch ahead of their Europa League game on Thursday night.
Celtic visit Ibrox less than 72 hours after the clash between Steven Gerrard’s side and the Bundesliga outfit. And there should now be massive fears about what state the pitch will be in.
The Record has reported that the reason for Leverkusen not being allowed to train on it is due to the fact that they fear the pitch will suffer further damage before the game on Thursday.
Ibrox has been an absolute disgrace in recent weeks. The pitch has cut up badly, leaving huge swathes of turf without any grass on it. It hasn’t looked great at all in 2020, and even without the game on Thursday night, it would still be a tricky surface to play on.
Things Rangers* have banned from Ibrox:
Green Straws; and…. er….
Green Grass pic.twitter.com/9cTTwz1wzb
— Dazelle Zayvon (@ChucklesLeVert) February 20, 2020
God knows what state Ibrox will be in on Sunday
The above image was taken during their Europa League contest against Braga. Since then, Rangers have only had to play on it once against Hamilton. So you would imagine that they’ve managed to get it into some better shape.
However, with the constant rainfall piling down on Glasgow in recent days, we won’t bank on it. When Rangers come off the pitch against Leverkusen, it’ll be just over 60-odd hours before Celtic are having to strut their stuff on it.
This looks like it could be a leveler. Celtic enjoy getting the ball down and playing a patient passing game. Doing that on this surface could be a disaster waiting to happen. This could be a real concern for Neil Lennon.
You can likely bet on Rangers not doing much to sort it for the derby game either. After all, if there’s a chance to make the conditions more treacherous for this in-form and rampant Celtic side – why bother?
The fact that UEFA doesn’t think that Ibrox is able to take a light training session is a concern. Goodness knows how much it’ll cut up during an actual Europa League match over the course of 90 minutes.
Celtic will undoubtedly be keeping an eye on this in the run-up to Sunday’s game. Here’s hoping it isn’t detrimental to our own style of play.