Celtic 0 - 1 Preston North End: Should we be worried?

Updated: Aug 12

Celtic winger Liel Adaba

2,000 fans turned up at Paradise to watch Celtic's first match at home with a crowd since March 2020. Normally, a friendly defeat to an English Championship side wouldn't be cause for concern but with the Champions League qualifier to FC Midtjylland in midweek, is this Celtic side ready?

It's hard to find a convincing argument that they are - given the current situation - believe me I've tried.

Two things stood out from our performance against PNE. Firstly, our defence is not currently competent enough to stop a mid-table Championship side, nevermind a side who were third top scorers in the Danish Superliga last season. Secondly, our attack is far from firing on all cylinders so close to a match in a competition where a lack of quality in front of goal is sorely punished.

Injuries, key players looking to move on and the adjustment of our current crop to evolve their game into Ange Postecoglou's new style is a potential recipe for another short-lived Champions League journey for a club whose fans are craving a return to Europe's premier stage after it's most disappointing season in more than a decade.

Having said that, the recent flurry of transfer activity, adding established internationals at both end of the pitch, is absolutely cause for optimism. It's crucial that both Starfelt and Furuhashi hit the ground running to solve the short-term puzzle that is navigating past FC Midtjylland.

Celtic need to be on the pitch what our new manager is off of it; patient, composed and ruthless. If we can manage that for 90 minutes, the 9,000 fans allowed inside Parkhead may well bear witness to a season-defining match.