Celtic: The unknown quantity, the longer unbeaten streak and exciting prospect of Bodo/Glimt in Conference League cracker

It’s the first meeting of the sides and has all the hallmarks of an intriguing contest at Parkhead.

Bodo/Glimt Form

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While Celtic have swept, quite emphatically, to the top of the table in Scotland, Bodo/Glimt have been out of competitive action – completely – since the draw was made.

FK Bodo/Glimt players and staff applauds fans after their sides draw in the UEFA Europa Conference League group C match between AS Roma and FK Bodo/Glimt at Stadio Olimpico on November 04, 2021 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

Like Celtic however, they are on the back of a series of good results amidst a long unbeaten spell.

Kjetil Knutsen’s side have been playing friendlies in their close season training base in Alicante – and registered two wins, over Scandinavian sides Elfsborg and AGF as well as a draw with Dynamo Kiev. Matches against CSKA Moscow and Celtic’s vanquished Europa League opponents Jablonec were postponed.

Those three ties which did go ahead add to an unbeaten record stretching back to August – beyond Celtic’s own when a 2-1 first-leg defeat by Prishtina was overturned in the Conference League knock-outs, setting up an undefeated group stage which included the impressive win over Roma 6-1 in October, and the 2-2 draw with Jose Mourinho’s side at the Stadio Olimpico.

While little can be read into the recent form of the Norwegian champions given the lack of competitive action, it’s worth noting they have failed to win away from home in Europe in all but one match this season.

Ola Solbakken of FK Bodo/Glimt celebrates after scoring their first goal at Stadio Olimpico in Rome. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

Bodo/Glimt squad

It’s also difficult to tell how the Norwegian champions will line up – because there has been a significant change to their squad since landing their second Eliteserien title.

Former St Johnstone, Falkirk and Queen’s Park footballer David Weatherston, now a Norwegian football blogger in the country, wrote at the time of the draw: “Interesting but we’ll have to see who is still with Bodo/Glimt at the time the game eats around.”

That’s proven prophetic with four key starters from the Norwegian champions departing between the draw and the match – not to mention two others heading for Hibs – Runar Hauge and Elias Melkersen.

Bodo/Glimt coach Kjetil Knutsen. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Striker Erik Botheim joined Krasnador in Russia for £4.5million, Celtic-linked Patrick Berg joined Lens for £4m, while defenders Fredrik Bjorkan and Marius Lode both headed to the Bundesliga.

They have replaced the departures with three domestic-based players, plus striker Runar Espejord who returns to Norway from Heerenveen in the Dutch Eriedivisie and previously hit 30 goals in four years at Tromso.

And they have managed to hang onto attacking midfielder Ola Solbakken following his 11goals in 37games last year.

Bodo/Glimt philosophy

With so much change it’s difficult to know just how the exits and arrivals will affect the Norwegians when they emerge from cold storage – and their warmer weather camp in Spain – this week.

However manager Knutsen has caught the eye, and has been linked with many clubs since his success with the league champions.

His powerful pressing attack style has seen the goals racked up in Glimt, particularly with Kasper Junker during their first title win, and though they sold the Dane to Urawa Red Diamonds in the J-League last summer, their continued progress could hint towards an exciting game in prospect against the high intensity of Celtic under Ange Postecoglou.

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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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