Celtic fans – albeit only 2000 of them – had waited 16 months to be welcomed back to Parkhead as coronavirus restrictions ease, but a miserable day for Bhoys supporters and sportsmen saw Preston claim a 1-0 win during Postecoglou’s first home game in charge.
Benjamin Whiteman’s penalty in the 64th minute was all that separated the two sides on Saturday, and Postecoglou pulled no punches after the final whistle, claiming that Celtic “need to bring players in” as they seek to dethrone Rangers at the first time of asking.
The Bhoys have mostly had things their way on the road in pre-season, though – beating Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic in Wales before playing out a goalless stalemate with Bristol City – but the toughest test of their pre-season lies in wait as West Ham United visit Celtic Park on July 24.
Injuries and quarantine measures have hardly helped Postecoglou’s cause so early on in his Celtic reign – with new signing Kyogo Furuhashi waiting a little while longer to link up with his teammates – although Liel Abada’s introduction off the bench at the weekend was a sight for sore eyes.
Not since the 2017-18 season have Celtic managed to progress as far as the Champions League group stages – falling at the second round of qualifying to Ferencvaros last year – but they can take solace in the fact that Midtjylland also prepare for continental competition on the back of a demoralising defeat.
Danish Superliga runners-up Midtjylland had the pleasure of kicking off the 2021-22 season on Friday against Odense Boldklub – the side who languished to an eighth-placed finish last term – but the game did not quite go according to the script.
OB’s Bashkim Kadrii broke the deadlock with 15 minutes on the clock before Pione Sisto restored parity for Midtjylland just before the hour mark, but in the 91st minute of the encounter,
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OB left-back Jorgen Skjelvik saw his corner evade everyone and loop into the back of the net over Jonas Lossl.
New manager Bo Henriksen could hardly have suffered a more dampening start to life in the Midtjylland dugout, but focus has quickly turned to the Champions League for the ex-Kidderminster Harriers frontman, who has labelled his side “underdogs” for Tuesday’s game