As they head over the North Sea to Celtic Park for the first leg of their crucial Champions League qualifier, Malmo manager Age Hareide has been stirring the pot a little more.
The 61-year-old has boldly said that Red Bull Salzburg, who Malmo beat in the last qualifying round, are a superior side to Celtic.
“Celtic are a good team but Salzburg are actually better” the Norwegian was quoted as saying.
“We have every respect for Celtic. But the truth is Salzburg are better and showed it in the Europa League last year too.”
The Malmo chief isn’t the only one to take a swipe at the Bhoys either, with winger Vladimir Rodic in similarly bold mood.
The 21-year-old said: “I know Celtic are a good team, but they aren’t as a good as they were two or three years ago.”
The Swedish side are the only Scandinavian team to ever reach a European Cup final, losing to Nottingham Forest in 1980.
They haven’t enjoyed too many big European nights since however, and Hareide is fully aware of the atmosphere at Parkhead, up against his Norwegian counterpart, Ronny Deila.
“The pressure comes more from the stands at Parkhead than on the pitch.
“It can be difficult to communicate with the players so we need to be alert.”
Despite his claims about Celtic’s current standard however, Hareide, who faced the Scotland national team twice when in charge of Norway, has revealed a lasting respect for the Hoops.
“I remember Jimmy Johnstone and the team who won the European Cup.
“I watched the final against Inter Milan when I was young. Jimmy was a fantastic player and I remember the names. All of them were top players of European standard back then.”
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