Hearts striker Steven MacLean has given Celtic some intriguing advice ahead of their upcoming Champions League qualifier against Armenian champions Alashkert.
MacLean played for St Johnstone when they lost to Alshkert in 2015, and he had told Brendan Rodgers’ side that it is all about making sure you have enough energy to cope with the oppressive temperatures the game will be played in.
“There was no real tempo to the game because you can’t play as you would back home in those conditions – you need to conserve your energy” he said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
“Alashkert looked quite a good side but that might just have been because they were more used to playing in that kind of climate.
MacLean also warned the Hoops that the Armenians weren’t averse to doing anything they could to win the game.
“They were experts at all the dark arts – time-wasting and all of that nonsense so Celtic should expect to have to deal with that as well.
“However, Brendan Rodgers has quality players so, unless they collapse in the first leg, I’m sure they’ll have enough in their locker to get past them.”
Football Insider verdict
The more you hear about this game the bigger challenge it sounds like for the Hoops. The temperature that the game is going to be played in sounds truly oppressive, and the Bhoys will need to find a way to deal with that. The Hoops will be delighted to get this game over and done with and leave Armenia in control of the tie, with the second leg a week later in Glasgow. The Bhoys knew they would have to face challenges in qualifying for the Champions League, but this one has come at a very early stage of the season, and Brendan Rodgers will have to get his side playing at their very best if they are to pull off the win in what sounds like very difficult conditions to play in. The Hoops will be hoping that on the night their European experience will make all the difference against a team not used to playing a team like the Bhoys.
In other Celtic news, the Bhoys have been linked with an SPFL defender