There’s not much that Glasgow Celtic can achieve in the Scottish Premiership after dominating the league for nine seasons straight. Their endeavors in the continental football have left a lot to be desired for, despite occasionally performing well in the Champions League and it’s less precious brother Europa League. With the re-emergence of their local rival, Old Firm partner Glasgow Rangers, Celtic has had to pay some attention to the domestic competition as well – after all, losing to Rangers would be worse than getting kicked out of Champions League by an obscure Hungarian club.
To start the season, Celtic did qualify for the Europa League group stages and drew a highly competitive bunch of opponents in Group H. Italian powerhouse, albeit somewhat under the weather in past seasons, AC Milan is returning to their top form. The French side Lille, known for their brilliant academy players is making strides in Ligue 1 once again and Sparta Praha, with a long tradition in European competition are likely to provide some tough Thursday nights for the Celtic. Their rivals Rangers got it somewhat easier, facing Portuguese Benfica, Belgian St. Liege and Polish side Lech respectively.
As it seems, the prospective fixture congestion has been tackled by Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who has added plenty of depth to his squad and used quite a bit of rotation early in the season, especially up front. So far in the Premiership, Celtic has scored 25 goals, averaging 2.77 per game, which is quite a normal number for the top team. Remarkably, those 25 goals are now divided between 13 different players. Leading the way are the new acquisition Albian Ajeti with 5 and the usual suspect Odsonne Edouard, who are expected to carry the heaviest load in the goal scoring department. Additionally, super-sub Patryk Klimala has three and two goals have been scored by Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor, Shane Duffy and James Forrest, while the defensive line have added one each. In short, Celtic is now firing with all cylinders.
Defensively the team is as good as ever, having conceded only five goals in nine games, despite the change in the goalkeeping position. There’s not much to improve in the domestic competition and Celtic seem well prepared for a deep run in the Europa League as well.