Molde start has taken Celtic by surprise, admits Collins

Celtic assistant coach John Collins admits Molde’s impressive start has taken everyone by surprise.

The Norwegian champions sit top of Group A, collecting four points from their opening two games after victory over Fenerbahce and a point against Ajax.

The Scottish champions are next up for Molde, who announced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their new coach on the eve of the clash, and Collins is under no illusions about the task in front of them.

“When the draw was made probably most people didn’t expect Molde to be top of the group after two games. I think it has surprised everybody,” he said speaking at Glasgow Airport.

“But they have proved on the European stage that they have got their tactics right and picked up a good victory away in Turkey and a good draw against Ajax.

“Individually, they don’t have the same quality [as Ajax and Fenerbahce players] but as a team they have got it right in Europe.

“Defensively they are very sound, very compact and they hit you on the break with good pace in wide areas and up front so it has to got to be concentration from first minute to last minute.

“It would be great to get three points. That is the objective. We will go across here and try to win the game.

“I’ve got a feeling this group will go to the last games. It would be nice to qualify before the last games but first and foremost we have to get three points tomorrow.”

Celtic have some injury concerns ahead of the game. James Forrest and Charlie Mulgrew are out, Jozo Simunovic is unlikely to feature despite travelling with the squad but Stefan Johansen returns.

Collins explained the problem with Simunovic who hasn’t played since making his debut against Ajax in September.

“Jozo has trained this week so we will see how he is but I don’t think he will be ready to start the game,” he said.

“He is a big signing for us. I thought he did very well in his first game against Ajax.

“He has been unfortunate, he injured himself in training but we look forward to getting him back.”

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