05 November 2020 18:33
Join thousands of fans who have signed up to our Celtic newsletter. Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email Aberdeen goalkeeper Tomas Cerny believes Sparta Prague can beat Celtic, as he insists they've taken "a step back" under Neil Lennon. The Czech league leaders face a Europa League showdown at Parkhead on Thursday night but their preparation has not been ideal. Domestic football has been suspended for over a month while a number of players have had to be left at home due to Covid-19. Celtic, meanwhile, are on a high after beating Aberdeen to reach the Scottish Cup final on Sunday but the Dons' backup goalkeeper believes his countrymen can cause an upset.
Cerny told iSport: "Celtic are not in an ideal situation at the moment. "We've played them twice and I've seen some of their other matches, and it's definitely not the Celtic of the past few seasons when they were coached by Brendan Rodgers. "Under him they played great football; they were able to control matches, hold the ball and play combinations. "This season it seems to me that they're no longer so strong, the results and the football haven't been optimal. "They still have good players though, for example Odsonne Edouard who has just returned after being out with Covid-19 for two weeks.
"I'd recommend, as a template, the match against Ferencvaros in the Champions League qualifiers where they didn't manage to qualify. "Celtic held the ball well enough but the Hungarians picked them off on the break. "That could be the way to go because their defence is not very quick. Shane Duffy, who is on loan from Brighton, is huge but he has problems with pace. "In addition they'll be without Kristoffer Ajer who is one of their few defenders with pace. That could be a big advantage for Sparta. "They have relatively fast players on the flanks, Frimpong and Laxalt are very good in that regard. "But I think they'll be very vulnerable in the centre of defence." Cerny was also keen to point out where his countrymen could struggle though. "On set pieces the aforementioned Duffy can be very dangerous. Elsewhere they have a lot of skillful players. "Ryan Christie can really finish and he can shoot on his left or right foot. Just on Sunday he scored a beautiful goal from distance. "In the middle Callum McGregor is excellent on the ball, Celtic really have a lot of players to watch out for. "But if Sparta defend well and frustrate them a bit, it will certainly open up space for fast breaks. "Try and put a quick ball over the defence and run away from them - that's the way to get at them." Jiri Jarosik insists Rangers play a more modern style of football than his own club and the Aberdeen goalkeeper is in agreement. Asked about how Celtic play since the departure of Brendan Rodgers, Cerny replied: "The difference in their game is striking. "Rodgers played his typical football here based on a lot of passes, ball possession and good movement. "It was obvious that he knew what he was doing. "It was actually similar to how Rangers play now under Steven Gerrard, and it's bringing them results. (Image: SNS Group) "They haven't lost in Europe yet and they lead the league in Scotland. So yes, for Celtic it's been a bit of a step back - at least in terms of their play. "This season Celtic can win the league for a 10th season in a row but if you look at their performances and the table - where Rangers have pulled away from them - it's not ideal at all even though Celtic's last two matches have been good. "But the bigger topic is this: Celtic fans see a big difference in how Celtic and Rangers play. "Gerrard's team play very, very attractive football. They create a lot of chances, they don't concede goals. And the Celtic fans are annoyed. "They are skeptical about it. That's why the team has been under a lot of pressure lately. "The expectation is huge, no team has ever won 10 In A Row. "In addition, Celtic have lost their support at the stadium. Even when they played a team lower down in the table they'd have 50-60,000 fans pushing them on. "Now it's not there and it's just the quality of the players themselves. They have shown a maximum of two or three good performances this season. "Otherwise they've struggled to break teams down and it's been quite disjointed." Our results maps, however, do not show Wisconsin for Biden. This is because they're driven by data, supplied via Reuters, from polling firm Edison Research, which does the field work for the exit polls and works with US networks in the National Election Pool. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled he wants another economic relief package passed in the next two months. But with Republicans poised to retain control of the Senate, Democrats lack leverage to demand approval of their multi-trillion-dollar stimulus bill, which McConnell opposes. "We need another rescue package," the Kentucky senator said Wednesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. "Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election. We need to do it, and I think we need to do it before the end of the year." Democrats and Republicans have been at loggerheads for months over the next package, with Democrats pushing for one that includes a bailout of state and local governments. New York officials have said they need about $50 billion, while the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is seeking $12 billion and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey wants $3 billion. McConnell has thrown his support behind more funding for schools, hospitals and small businesses. But Republicans have rejected the Democratic proposal championed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and argue that the election results, while not final, will change the dynamics in the House and Senate. "It's a much different place," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told the Journal. "Nancy Pelosi has a weaker hand. The Democratic members who lost want to vote for something more reasonable, not her $3 trillion bill." Senate Republicans, wary of the nation's ballooning budget deficit, have proposed a measure one-sixth that size. The negotiations have implications for the real estate industry, as congressional aid packages have been credited with providing crucial support for the economy throughout the pandemic. [WSJ] — Sylvia Varnham O'Regan