Bodo Glimt star fires Celtic a warning as he insists clued up underdogs won’t be caught cold

Bodo Glimt star Runar Espejord admits the Norwegians are coming out of cold storage but the frontman insists there will be no excuses for not handling the heat at Parkhead.

The reigning Eliteserian champions are in pre-season mode with the defense of their title not due to kick off until April.

Glimt had to get out of town to prepare as their Arctic Circle hometown makes it awkward to do the hard yards in the fight to get fit.

Espejord admitted coming to Glasgow on Europa Conference League duty is a heck of a glamor clash to get back to business – but he insisted his side won’t freeze on the night against Ange Postecoglou’s side.

The former Tromso and Hereenveen ace said: “It will be very exciting. It is an unusual start to a football year for us Norwegian football players.

“It’s an insanely stylish match to start the year with all the glitter around it. I’m really looking forward to it. Not many people get to experience these types of matches.


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“It’s a bit unusual for us to be in our pre-season before having such a big European game like this.

“We have used the last few weeks really well to make sure we are prepared for this match against Celtic.

“I don’t think we can use having no competitive games as an excuse.

“The right way for us to do things is preparing as best we can and then go into the game and see what happens.

“They are a huge club with a lot of history so it’s an exciting game for us to look forward to.

“They have always been one of the biggest clubs in Scotland who are famous in Europe as well.

“We have done our research on Celtic over the last few weeks so know what to expect.

“I have never played against a Scottish side before and this will be my first trip to the country and I can’t wait.

“I have heard it might be a bit wetter than Norway but I am from a northern point in Norway so I am used to the cold weather so that won’t be a shock.”

Espejord is expecting a warm welcome in Scotland though – as he knows Celtic Park will be rocking on a big Euro night under the lights.

He said: “The most intense atmosphere I have had was a game against Besiktas in Turkey, it was wild.

“I have heard a lot about the atmosphere at Celtic Park and I’ve heard they are crazy, so I am looking forward to it.

“I love a good atmosphere and it inspires me. You don’t get it too often so you have to enjoy it.

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“I would love to make a good impression on my debut by scoring.

“I have worked hard in pre-season to make sure I am ready for the game in Glasgow.

“I’ve had a few injuries in my career so I have to be careful and not rush things but it would be fun to make my competitive debut in Glasgow.”

Espejord was drafted in from Dutch outfit Heerenveen last month as a replacement for star man Erik Botheim who departed for Krasnodar in a bumper £4.5m deal.

The 25-year-old came through at Tromso – which is even further north than Bodo – and he admitted former Celt Stefan Johansen is a big hero.

The Norway midfielder – who is currently at QPR after a long spell at Fulham – is from his neck of the woods and he admitted it’s not easy for players to hit the top level when they live near the North Pole.

Espejord said: “Stefan is a few years older than me but he is something of an inspiration to young players after doing so well at Celtic and now in England.

“It’s always good to see someone who has come from your country doing well in their career abroad.

“Considering we have snow for ten months of the year it’s quite impressive that guys can become professional players at that level.

“The conditions aren’t exactly on your side in Norway, so it’s always inspiring to see guys making it to the big time.”

Bodo have made a huge impression on the big stage in recent seasons after becoming shock winners of the Norwegian league in 2020 and then retaining their crown the following year.

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Glimt caused a major shock when they stunned Jose Mourinho’s Roma with their incredible 6-1 win in the Conference group stages – and they followed it up with a 2-2 draw in the Eternal City.

Espejord was watching in awe from Holland but he wants to be part of another stunning Euro success in Scotland.

He said: “I wasn’t here at the time but I watched it on TV and it was one hell of a game and it was certainly fun to watch.

“We have to take confidence from the Roma game and believe we can beat Celtic.

“If you go into the game not thinking we can win then we will be in trouble.

“We have to go into the game with a belief that we can win and play our own game.

“We look at one game at a time and our philosophy is always the same, home or away.

“As a team we liked to control the game and that’s what we will be aiming to do in Glasgow. We like to play entertaining football.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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