Celtic Can Overcome Midfield Crisis
26 November 2015, 15:27
Leigh Griffiths is confident Celtic can overcome their midfield crisis against Ajax in their crunch Europa League clash at Parkhead tonight.
Manager Ronny Deila revealed on Wednesday that skipper Scott Brown could be out for between eight and 12 weeks with a knee injury picked up against Kilmarnock at the weekend.
Kris Commons is also still likely to be out with a combination of a hamstring injury and illness while fellow midfielders Nir Bitton and Stefan Johansen are suspended.
Charlie Mulgrew, who can play midfield or defence, is back in contention after recovering from a thigh injury but he has not played since September.
Deila will have to dig deep into his squad but striker Griffiths remains positive. He said: "It's a big blow for us they are big game players, but it gives an opportunity for someone else to come in and stake a claim for a place.
"It's going to be difficult for them but they wouldn't be at Celtic if they weren't good players.
"The manager threw Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong straight in against Inter Milan last season and you saw the job they done.
"But no matter who plays they are going to have to put in a performance.''
After back to back defeats by surprise Norwegian outfit Molde the Scottish champions are bottom of Group A with two points from four matches, one point ahead of the Dutch side.
Molde have qualified with 10 points and play Fenerbahce who are second with five points.
While a draw for either side at Parkhead does not necessarily end hopes of qualifying for the group stages - unless the Turkish side win against Molde - victories against Ajax and Fenerbahce in their final two group games will definitely take Celtic through.
The Scotland striker said: "The last two games were disappointing against Molde but we've got a chance to rectify that.
"It's still in our own hands. If we don't perform then we aren't going to go through but if we give ourselves a good chance of getting three points then we go to Fenerbahce for the last game with a lot of confidence.
"If Ajax win they are in a good position to go through so ultimately it's going to be a very tough game for us.
"They'll be coming here to attack us but we've got players going the other way that can hurt them.''
Ajax boss Frank de Boer insists his side are going for the win but admits caution will be exercised.
He said: "We will not have the door open for them but we will be attacking because we need to win.
"We are not crazy of course, we have respect for Celtic.
"We have to play very compact, that is the most important thing and play with confidence.''