Celtic take on the Icelandic champions in their Champions League second round qualifier on July 15th.
Celtic’s pre-season preparations haven’t gone entirely to plan, with minnows Dukla Prague emerging 5-3 winners in the Bhoys’ second game back on Saturday - a result which gave FC Stjarnan's boss a good dose of encouragement, according to an interview in the Daily Record.
“Celtic have just started their pre-season preparation and looked a little bit rusty but it was interesting for us to see them in this game, "said Runar Pall Sigmundsson as per the Daily Record.
“Dukla were a very good team and took advantage of a lot of space Celtic left between their defence and midfield. They had some problems with that and it is something we can look at in their game.”
Celtic face Real Sociedad on Friday before welcoming Stjarnan to Parkhead on July 15th for their Champions League qualifier and Saturday’s defeat was hardly ideal preparation for Ronny Deila’s men.
A much-changed Celtic side looked disinterested and lethargic as they tired late on and Deila will be hoping the coming week and a half of preparation is sufficient to get his team ready for a Stjarnan who’ll be fighting fit and raring to go.
Sigmundsson recognises the difficulty of the task ahead but insists his team are full of belief:
“We are very confident. We like to play in this tournament and take confidence from our performances against Motherwell and Lech Poznan in last season’s Europa League. We knocked out two very good teams but this is our first attempt at the Champions League."
“Our players will have to play two great games and everybody will have to play their best ever if we are to beat Celtic,” he added.
A Stjarnan win would represent one of the greatest upsets in Scottish football history and while highly unlikely, Deila must guard against any complaceny in his team.
Stjarnan currently sit mid-table in the Úrvalsdeild after 10 games but are match-fit and sharper than the Celtic squad, as things stand.
Nine days is a long time in football however, and Celtic will be confident of rising to the occasion when the men from Iceland roll into town.