As Celtic get set to face Bodo/Glimt on Thursday night, there will be a relatively new UEFA rule change that’s worth remembering before we start getting nervous about conceding.
Indeed, the away-goal rule was abolished by UEFA ahead of the 2021/22 campaign. It was done so in order to encourage more home sides to come out and attack the opposition – something many were hesitant to do due to the damage of conceding an away goal [UEFA].
Celtic experienced this new rule for the first time in the early stages of the campaign. Against Midtjylland, Jablonec, and AZ Alkmaar, the away-goal rule wasn’t in place. It was most notably felt against the Danish side, with Celtic drawing 1-1 at Parkhead and knowing that they wouldn’t go out if the away game finished 0-0.
Unfortunately, we ended up losing the game 2-1, but that was before Ange had even signed the vast majority of his players. His style had yet to seriously be implemented on the squad and we weren’t yet playing the swash-buckling football that is now blowing teams away in Scotland.
But now, Ange’s Celtic is a different beast. In our last 4 matches, Celtic have netted an incredible 14 goals. Whilst teams continue to create opportunities against us on the counter, that’s just the manager’s style. He’s all out attack and doesn’t necessarily care much for the repercussions. It’s total football. The way fans love the game to be played.
And when it comes to European football, Celtic looked primed to make the most of it when Bodo/Glimt come to Parkhead on Thursday night.
Celtic will look to overwhelm Bodo/Glimt under the Parkhead lights
On Thursday night, Celtic will likely line up against Bodo/Glimt with a host of exciting attacking threats. Jota, Liel Abada, Daizen Maeda, Tom Rogic, and plenty of others will be tasked with overwhelming the Norwegians and attacking them from the first minute to the last. And they’ll be able to do so without fearing the concession of a goal.
Effectively, an away goal was a game-changer. Nowadays, Postecoglou’s all-out attacking style can be played in Europe with minimal risk. A 3-2 win, for example, is now just as valuable as a 1-0. Those 2 goals mean nothing outside of managing to keep the margin of defeat down. If we ship a couple of goals to Bodo on Thursday, it’s no disaster if we manage to score 3 or 4.
This means Ange doesn’t need to hold back. He doesn’t need to change his style or his system in order to be extra cautious about the concession of a goal.
Celtic have already shown they can do damage on the road too. In our 3 away games in the Europa League group stage, we rattled home 8 goals. That’s fantastic stuff and shows we can easily go to Norway or anywhere else in this competition and find the net more than once. So again, the concession of a goal or 2 at Parkhead simply doesn’t matter, because we know we’ve just as good a chance netting on the road.
Ange literally doesn’t need to change anything. His gung-ho style may have led to some early European disappointments, but Celtic are a different animal. We have different options available and everything is finally coming together as the players continue to take to the manager’s principles.
All of a sudden, this fresh UEFA rule looks as though it could be of huge benefit to the Hoops. Hopefully, that proves to be the case against Bodo/Glimt on Thursday night.
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