Strachan ponders changes as Celtic falter again

December 6, 2006

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan is prepared to make big changes to his side after the Hoops' shocking away record in the Champions League continued with a disappointing 3-1 defeat by FC Copenhagen at the Parken Stadium.

The Parkhead side fell behind to a goal by Atiba Hutchinson after just 90 seconds and further strikers by Jesper Gronkjaer and Marcus Allback put the home side into a comfortable lead.

Jiri Jarosik scored a consolation for the visitors, who were once again inept on their travels.

And although the Hoops will go through to the last-16 draw as Group F runners-up behind Manchester United, they are still awaiting their first away victory in the competition after 12 attempts.

Celtic have lost three goals in each of their away Champions League games this season and Strachan said: 'I know the problems and rest assured I will sort them out.

'I don't know if it will be in the next three months or the next season but I will sort them out.

'It's a challenge for me but I will do it.'

Strachan was overwhelmed with disappointment after his side's latest calamity on foreign soil.

The Parkhead boss admitted the dressing room was quiet after the game despite the fact that they had qualified through to the knockout stages and are on course to retain their Bank of Scotland Premier League title.

He said: 'Nothing can give us a lift at the moment and the disappointment overwhelms me.

'We are down. We should have been celebrating with our fans because we are through to the last 16 but that defeat wiped it away.

'You might point out that we are 16 points ahead in the title race but that doesn't affect us at the moment because we are overwhelmed with disappointment.'

However, Strachan insists he did not regret leaving Shunsuke Nakamura on the bench.

After he came on as a second-half substitute for Aiden McGeady, the Japan international made Jarosik's goal with a trademark curling free-kick to the back post.

But Strachan said: 'I have no regrets. There were players like Thomas Gravesen, Jiri and Maciej Zurawski that needed games.

'But we struggled for shape in the first half and that improved when Shunsuke came on.

'We were poor at set-pieces and we needed to deal with that.

'They scored from a throw-in, a free-kick and a corner.'

FC Copenhagen manager Stale Solbakken believes Celtic will have to build up a first-leg lead in the last 16 to have any chance of progressing through to the next stage.

After coming second in their group, the Hoops will be drawn at home when the draw takes place on Friday week.

Solbakken said: 'They will need to win by more than one goal in their home leg.

'The statistics show that they are not good away from home, although at Celtic Park they have shown that they can beat anyone.'

Solbakken admits, however, that the fact that Celtic had already qualified was crucial to the result.

He said: 'There are always strange results in the last games of the section when teams have already qualified.

'But if Celtic can go through to the last 16 then there is no reason why a Danish side can't go through.

'Over the two games there was no big difference between the two sides and they can inspire us to come back next year.

'But we managed to get seven points, which is great.'