Gregory Tade, the former St Johnstone striker, is adamant Celtic can become the first Scottish team to win on Romanian soil if they are brave enough to exploit Astra Giurgiu’s defensive frailties, says heraldscotland.com.The 28-year-old, who is currently plying his trade with CFR Cluj, put Astra to the sword last month with a clinical double as the Transylvanian club claimed a comprehensive 4-1 win. Having watched both sides this term, Tade reckons Celtic have „far more quality” than Astra and will enjoy similar success at the Marin Anastasovici Stadium if they harry their hosts and employ an attacking approach.
„Celtic will get the rewards if they show courage,” said Tade, who made the switch from McDiarmid Park to the Romanian top flight in the summer of 2013. „If they take risks, press Astra high up the field and look to attack when possible, then Celtic will get something out of the game. I have no doubt about that.
„I also believe that Celtic will have a massive advantage due to the physical aspect of the Scottish game, which I remember very well. This is not something Romanian teams are used to every week and Celtic should exploit their pace and strength.
„Astra are a very new team and do not have the European experience of Celtic and I have no qualms about saying that Celtic also have far more quality. I am sure that if Celtic do not give Astra time to breath and look to push forward then they will win.”
While Tade’s contribution against Astra was decisive, he believes „neutralising” pivotal duo Constantin Budescu and Seidu Yahaya was the real key to his side’s success.
The former Forfar Athletic, Raith Rovers and Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker is well placed to offer an informed scouting report, and he has urged Celtic’s Ronny Deila to follow the lead of Cluj in tomorrow evening’s Europa League tie.
„We managed to neutralise two of their best players, and the Celtic manager should have the same plan,” explained Tade. „[Constantin] Budescu is the playmaker and he makes absolutely everything happen in the team. He is clever, technical and, if you give him time and space, then he can set up a goal or score spectacularly from 30 yards. He will hurt any team in the world on a good day. [Seidu] Yahaya is also very good. He is a strong-tackling midfielder and can control the match unless his opponents are ready for a fight. If Celtic can stop those players, they should not have a problem.”
Scottish teams have a notoriously dismal record in Romania, with Rangers losing to Unirea Urziceni and Steaua Bucharest in recent years while Celtic have tasted defeat against FC Timisoara. With Dundee United and Aberdeen also failing to beat the likes of Jiul Petrosani, Dinamo Bucharest and Nistru Otaci away from home, Celtic are hoping to register a first win in Romania for a club from these shores.
Tade is confident Deila’s men will not be cowed by their surroundings.
„I would not expect flares or crazy fans,” he added. „This is not a team from Bucharest or even my side, Cluj. This is a small team with not much history in Europe. If anything, Celtic will have a challenge dealing with such a low-key atmosphere.”
Things have not been so great of late at Cluj, one of the most successful Romanian clubs in the last decade. The team have threatened to boycott their next league game because of unpaid wages and bonuses.
„If the outstanding wages are not paid this week, our players will not play at FC Botosani on Saturday,” the coach Vasile Miriuta said. „They told me about that before the match against Brasov [on Monday night] and I understand them.”
Former Hungary international Miriuta also declared that he will quit as coach after the end of the first half of the championship next month.
„No matter what happens I’ll resign on December 6,” said the 46-year-old, who is the club’s 14th coach in the last six years.