Celtic v Astra Giurgiu: Gregory Tade's Romanian view

CFR Cluj's Gregory Tade played against Celtic in a pre-season friendly in 2013
CFR Cluj's Gregory Tade played against Celtic in a pre-season friendly in 2013
Europa League: Astra Giurgiu v Celtic
Date: Thursday, 6 November Venue: Stadionul Marin Anastasovici Kick-off: 18:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW and DAB digital radio, live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Gregory Tade knows how to score against Celtic.

The Frenchman showed that in September 2012, helping St Johnstone to a 2-1 victory.

But crucially, he also knows how to hit the back of Astra Giurgiu's net.

Tade left St Johnstone to join Romania side CFR Cluj in the summer of 2013. And after one fairly average season, the 28-year-old has suddenly found his shooting boots in Transylvania.

The former Inverness Caledonian Thistle man has netted nine goals in nine appearances this campaign, with two of those coming in a 4-1 triumph over Astra Giurgiu.

Celtic are looking to wrap up qualification from Group D at the Stadionul Marin Anastasovici on Thursday. The Premiership champions have already beaten Astra at home, but the return fixture is a different prospect entirely.

So, who better to ask than Tade for advice on just how exactly Ronny Deila's men should go about it.

Tade on.... Celtic 2-1 Astra

"I watched the game and thought Celtic would have won it easier. I was surprised that it took them a wee while to finish the game, even though Astra played fairly well away from home.

"I don't think Celtic are looking as strong as they used to be, compared to when they were beating Barcelona in the Champions League a couple of years ago.

"This year, Celtic will be a bit difficult to judge because they have a new players and new manager, so it's a new philosophy."

Celtic striker Stefan Scepovic celebrates his goal against Astra
Stefan Scepovic scored his first Celtic goal against Astra

Tade on.... the return fixture

"When you play away from home it's always difficult.

"Astra deserve to be in this competition. They beat Lyon away (in Europa League qualifiers), so it's not a team to be joking around with.

"They've got players that can hurt you and good organisation. If you're in the Europa League, it's not by any chance, they qualified the hard way.

"Celtic will be aware of the quality of this side. If you don't bring your 'A-game' in this competition, you get stung."

Astra progressed to Europa League Group D by beating Lyon
Astra progressed to Europa League Group D by beating Lyon

Tade on.... how to beat Astra

"We were very high up the pitch and we pressed them very much.

"We didn't let their best players have time on the ball. One of their players - Constantin Budescu - was closed down very quickly and we were on his case all the time.

"That was the key to the game, because we denied them space and hit them on the counter-attack very quickly and sharply. High pressure and high intensity really worked for us.

"Physically we were really ready and we just went for it and forced the mistakes."

Astra's Constantin Budescu is the key man to close down, says Gregory Tade
Astra's Constantin Budescu is the key man to close down, says Tade

Tade on.... pals in the opposition camp

"I spoke with Syam Ben Youssef, who plays for Astra, and he was amazed by the atmosphere at Celtic Park even though the stadium was not full.

"I told him that if he had the opportunity to play there in front of 60,000 people screaming and shouting, you'd see that as something greater.

"He knows Thursday is a big opportunity for them to do something great. Astra don't have the same objectives as Celtic, so for them to play in the Europa League is kind of a bonus.

"It's an opportunity for them to show what they can do as individual players as well."

Gregory Tade is a friend of Astra defender Syam Ben Youssef
Tade is a friend of Astra defender Syam Ben Youssef

Tade on.... what Romanians think of Celtic

"They're certainly aware that Celtic beat Barcelona a couple of years ago - everybody knows that. They're aware it's a big club and they know Celtic's reputation.

"They know more about the Premier League in England, but they do know Celtic and Rangers and they respect them as much as they respect the Manchester clubs.

"But I don't think Celtic will be intimidated by any fans in Europe, considering the fans they have."

Romanian football fans are well aware of Celtic beating Barcelona in 2012
Romanian football fans are well aware of Celtic beating Barcelona in 2012

Tade on.... football in Romania

"It's very different. It's more of an Italian or French approach to the game, where you go to the hotel one day before the match.

"It's more tactical and technical, with more foreigners with experience of the big leagues. In our club we've got three or four international players.

"Steaua Bucharest were in the Champions League and, before that, Cluj were. There are also lots of teams in the Europa League or Europa League qualifiers."

Gregory Tade in action for CFR Cluj against Celtic in 2013
Tade in action for CFR Cluj against Celtic in 2013

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