Celtic vs Partick Thistle: Ronny Deila must put Malmo aside to focus on Mathias Pogba

Celtic were drawn to face the Swedish champions of the last two seasons in the Champions League qualifying round

Click to follow
The Independent Football

How to solve a problem like Pogba is a puzzle Ronny Deila would dearly love to be sweating over come next month. The French midfielder, high on the list of the most-wanted men in Europe, will be in the Champions League this season whether he remains with Juventus or not. Celtic meanwhile have one more hurdle to overcome before they can take a coveted place in the group stages, a tie with Malmo.

Celtic were drawn to face the Swedish champions of the last two seasons in the Champions League qualifying round and it is that tie, the first leg to be played in Glasgow on 19 August, that will loom largest in the minds of Deila for much of this month. Returning the club to the Champions League proper is the overwhelming priority in the opening stages of the season and not just because of the much-needed £14m plus it will bring in – it is where all at Parkhead and its surrounds insist they belong. But first they must spare a weekend thought for domestic chores, and dealing with Pogba.

This is Mathias Pogba, much-travelled elder brother of Paul. Mathias, a striker, joined Partick Thistle on Monday and could make his debut in Sunday’s lunchtime visit of the champions for what is, in Rangers’ continued lower-league absence, the Premiership’s Glasgow derby.

Partick need all the extra attacking threat they can muster, and at over 6ft Pogba, who has spent time in France, Italy, England and Wales while playing international football for Guinea, the country of his birth, should at least bring a physical presence to their front line.

SPL weekend: three things to watch

Bums on seats at Pittodrie

Aberdeen host Kilmarnock in their first home league outing. Their exit from the Europa League on Thursday was watched by over 20,000 but will the fans turn out for the bread and butter league fare?

Hearts’ stoppers

Optimism bubbles at Tynecastle after their thrilling opening day return to the top flight. But conceding three soft goals to St Johnstone added to concerns over the defence. A trip to Dundee will provide a stern test for Robbie Neilson’s men.

United or divided?

Jackie McNamara, the Premiership’s longest serving manager, endured a troubled second half of last season. Defeat at Motherwell would send Dundee United into Tuesday’s derby beneath dark clouds.

Comments