A return to his homeland is in store for Celtic manager Ronny Deila as he takes his Bhoys to Molde in Thursday’s Europa League fixture, but will it be a happy homecoming for the Norwegian?
The Glasgow outfit have been met with a war of words already this season when heading to Scandinavia when the Malmo goalkeeper described their players as “pigs”, and the mind games are beginning to show once again.
Per Egil Flo, cousin of former Rangers man Tore Andre and current Molde defender was keen to heap the pressure on the Scottish visitors:
“I don’t know if it would be embarrassing for Ronny to leave here without three points. But of course everyone knows they are the big favourites,” he told the Daily Record.
“That puts pressure on them and that’s good for us.
“All we can do is think about ourselves. And we are going to do whatever we can to win.”
But is there a danger their opponents are being underestimated in the current climate?
Firstly, the side have recently welcomed back club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to the helm after two years away, so the well worn cliché of ‘new manager syndrome’ could strike at the Aker Stadion to hand MFK a surprise win.
However it might not take such a tenuous suggestion for Molde to trouble Celtic. They have already beaten Fenerbahce in Group A and secured a point against Ajax, and with the Hoops drawing against both of those opponents there clearly isn’t a lot between the two sides.
And while some sides may see the Europa League as a distraction from their domestic campaigns, there is no such worry for Solskjaer’s new team.
With three games left in the Eliteserien, they find themselves in seventh place with no chance of qualifying for Europe next season.
They are out of the NM Cupen, and with little left to play for in the league, full focus can be given to their foray into Europe.
However, overcoming Celtic will still be a mammoth task for the Norwegians.
The Glaswegians are unbeaten in seven games, and will be revelling in the fact that they are once again top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Goals from Nadir Ciftci and Kris Commons in recent weeks highlighted the fact that they are not over reliant on the strikes from star man Leigh Griffiths.
If Celtic’s recent Europa League form is anything to go by we can expect at least one of those to get on the scoresheet once again.
When taking part in the competition the Bhoys seem determined to give both sets of fans something to cheer with eight of their last 10 games in the competition seeing both sides find the net.
The same can be said for Molde, with eight of their last nine failing to provide a clean sheet for either team.
The 4/6 on offer for both sides finding the net here may not be for everyone at odds-on, but with so many question marks surrounding the WDW market, opting to back both keepers to be busy looks the way to go.
Ladbrokes are boosting the price on Celtic to win and both teams to score from 7/2 to 4/1!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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