Europa League Match Preview: FK Jablonec vs Celtic

Steve McLaren once said, "In football, two days is a long time and a week is a very long time." I never really paid much attention to what he said to be honest, apart from that time he became Dutch for a while. But he's definitely onto something with that quote.


In the last seven days, Celtic were bundled out of the Champions League qualifiers, suffered their first opening day loss in a league campaign since 1997 and let a one-time £12m rated midfielder leave on a Bosman. This is all while our two 'goalkeepers' were using their appearances to audition for a job in Tam Shepherds.


It's fair to say, sentiments were low.


But waking up this morning, as the bhoys prepare to take on FK Jablonec in the Europa League qualifier, the mood is different.


The club has finally followed through with two statement signings in the arrival of former England number one, Joe Hart, as well as boyhood Hoops fan and the Premiership battle-tested, James McCarthy. Hart travelled to the Czech Republic and will likely claim the number one spot in front of the hapless Bain and Barkas, as our defence is immediately upgraded.


The new arrivals will give the whole squad a lift and the return of Nir Bitton from suspension should shore up our back line and instill a lot more confidence in our ability to keep our first clean sheet of the season.


How could we line up?


Where will the game be won?


Czech minnows, FK Jablonec have only qualified for the group stage of the Europa League once before and were comfortably beaten 3-0 away from home in their last league appearance against FK Mladá Boleslav.


They were among the top scorers in the Czech league last season, but will most likely set up on the counter for this tie, hoping to exploit the new-look Celtic defence where they can.


Celtic, on the other hand, need to turn their possession into goals and I've got a sneaky suspicion tonight will be the night when that happens. Our forwards should have too much for Jablonec and Ange will be keen to put this fixture beyond them early on.


How to watch?


Sportscene will show the match live on BBC Scotland with coverage starting at 16:30 BST. Let us know your result predictions in the comments.