THE difficulty of the task Celtic face on Wednesday night in Norway should not be underestimated.
As anyone who witnessed the first leg at Parkhead last midweek could see, Rosenborg are well-organised, well-drilled and fit.
They counter-attacked with some menace and carved out two very good chances.
Indeed, one of the opportunities they passed up could be classed as a sitter, and they probably left Glasgow feeling disappointed not have gone back to their homeland with a 1-0 victory.
By the high standards Celtic have set themselves in the past 12 months, the players never hit the heights expected.
They had plenty of possession, but never created any clear-cut chances to score.
Still, a 0-0 is the best kind of draw you could want when you play at home in European competition.
Clearly, though, Brendan Rodgers’ side struggled without an out-and-out centre-forward in their line-up.
Every team needs recognised firepower to win games at Champions League level.
Moussa Dembele was injured and Leigh Griffiths was suspended.
Injuries are part and parcel of the game, and it was unfortunate for the manager, and his team, that the Frenchman picked up a hamstring problem that is likely to rule him out until September.
That should have led to Griffiths leading the line and being the focal point and the top end of the pitch, but he was ruled out by his UEFA disciplinary charge after he tied a Celtic scarf to the goalpost in Belfast.
That came back to bite the player and his club last Wednesday night.
Griffiths will want to make amends, of that there is no doubt.
He is a talented goalscorer and the return leg in Trondheim is his time to stand up and produce a moment of magic.
Griffiths has produced the goods many times for his club, and also scored those memorable two free-kicks for Scotland against England at Hampden last month.
I believe, however, he is carrying a knock and is not 100% certain to be available for selection.
If he is not in the team, then Celtic will need to rely heavily on set-pieces. They will need to make the most of corner kicks and free-kicks in the final third of the pitch.
The height and power they have in the team will need to be utilised.
Celtic also scored more goals away from home last season than they did at Parkhead, and that will give them confidence for Wednesday night.
If Celtic do get through this one, then I’m sure they will look to add another striker before the Champions League play-off tie next month.
With Dembele consigned to the sidelines, it would be very risky to go into that match just having Griffiths.
Some people have said that Celtic should have signed another striker by now, and shouldn’t have left themselves in the situation they were in for the first Rosenborg tie.
People can have an opinion, but there is nothing to be gained by looking back.
What you can have some control over is what you do for the next round, providing you qualify.
There is around £25-million at stake for Celtic to get into the group stage of the tournament and that is a massive incentive.
The manager and the club’s Board will want to make sure they have the best possible chance of securing the funds and the prestige of being in club football’s biggest competition.
But the margin for error is so tight in the play-off games, and that will be the case against a Rosenborg team who have had many good European results in the past 15 years.
A 1-1 draw sees Celtic through, a 1-0 defeat sends them out. That’s how tight it is.
It’s the same for Aberdeen.
Derek McInnes will be pleased with the 2-1 victory against Apollon. Sure, he would have preferred a clean sheet, but a win in Europe is nothing to downplay or to be dejected about.
What’s more, they went away from home to Bosnia in the last round and won. They will feel they can do the same in Cyprus on Thursday night.
It’s a difficult task, of course, but I think they are in a slightly better position than Celtic to advance.
Of course, we want to see both clubs progress and fly the flag for Scotland for as long as possible.
We’ve not had too much to shout about over the years, but maybe this will be the season it all turns and we can have a club joining Celtic in the group stages of the competition they entered into.
I wish Celtic and Aberdeen the very best of luck.
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