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We have to box clever against Hoops: Coolen


Thinking ahead: Rini Coolen
Thinking ahead: Rini Coolen

By Ronnie Esplin

Rini Coolen aims to be "smart" in the utilisation of his Rosenborg squad for the Europa League clash with Celtic in Trondheim tonight.

The Norwegian champions are bottom of Group B with four defeats and effectively out.

And with the Norway cup final against Stromsgodset on Sunday, where Coolen hopes to conclude the domestic season by clinching the double, the club's interim boss will use his players carefully against the Hoops.

The Parkhead club have the Betfred Cup final against Aberdeen at the weekend but they still harbour hopes of qualifying out of the group which includes Salzburg and RB Leipzig.

"We will try to use the best players available but of course we have to be smart as well, some players will not play the full 90 minutes," said Coolen, who remains unsure if he will be kept on as boss next season. "Pal Helland came back from injury and is doing well but I will keep him out because he has to be ready for Sunday.

"All the other players are available so we will have a good squad.

"There will be players in the starting XI that I can maybe take off a little bit earlier than normal.

"We have to think about a few things but we want to perform against Celtic. And yes, we'd like to show in our last home game against a European team that we can do better than we have done.

"Both games are very important, we have a very good squad and we will use the most players possible to have a good result and a good feeling, to prepare ourselves for the next game which is also very important."

Celtic have played Rosenborg three times this season, twice in the Champions League qualifying stage when the Hoops won 3-1 on aggregate after winning 3-1 at home and drawing 0-0 away.

Brendan Rodgers' side won 1-0 in the Europa League Group B opener at Celtic Park in September, thanks to a late Leigh Griffiths goal.

Former academy director Coolen, who took over as boss before the first Celtic game, is looking for that elusive win.

He said: "They will come to win. The best games we have played have been against Celtic so hopefully we will do even better."

Belfast Telegraph


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