Henrik Larsson plays down Swedes' striker loss against Celtic

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Interview - Celtic legend Henrik Larsson

Champions League play-off round, first leg

Olympia Stadium
Tuesday, 21 August
19:45 BST
BBC Radio Scotland

Henrik Larsson believes Celtic still face a tough match against Helsingborgs despite the exit of former Edinburgh-based striker Alfred Finnbogason.

Finnbogason, once of Hutchison Vale boys club, left for Heerenveen after helping the Swedes reach the play-off stage of the Champions League.

"There are a few other strikers there who are dangerous who are going to make it difficult for Celtic," said Larsson.

Finnbogason helps Helsingborgs defeat Welsh side New Saints in the second qualifying round
Finnbogason helps Helsingborgs defeat Welsh side New Saints in the second qualifying round

The former Sweden striker played for both Helsingborgs and Celtic.

And the 40-year-old, now coaching second-tier side Landskrona back in his homeland, knows all about the threat posed by the 23-year-old Iceland international who spent part of his childhood in Edinburgh.

Finnbogason had been on loan from Belgian club Lokeren, scoring 12 goals in 17 appearances - including one in a 3-0 win over Slask Wroclaw in Poland on their way to a 6-1 aggregate win in the previous round.

It was reported Finnbogason had agreed a permanent move to Helsingborgs before deciding to sign for his present Dutch club.

"They lost a striker the other day," said Larsson. "They are probably going to miss him a little bit.

"You are always going to miss goals, he has been delivering since he came, but they have a big squad, a lot of players who are ready to play."

Indeed, caretaker coach Age Hareide completed the late signing of Serbian striker Nikola Djurdic on loan from Haugesund as a replacement for Finnbogason.

Larsson won four league titles in his seven years with Celtic, scoring 242 goals in 315 competitive games.

He also enjoyed a prolific 1992/93 season for Helsingborgs, scoring 50 goals in 56 outings before returning to the club for a second spell in 2006 after two seasons with Barcelona.

However, the man who starred for Celtic between 1997-2004 remained coy about which of his former clubs he thought would progress.

"They are a very good team, very sound defensively, foremost," he said of Helsingborgs ahead of the first leg in Sweden.

"It's two teams who meant a lot to me, two teams who made it possible for me.

"I just hope the team who plays the best football is going to win and go through to the next stage."

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