Maloney hopeful side can turn around poor Euro run

Shaun MaloneySHAUN MALONEY believes Celtic’s Europa League trip to Sion is the ultimate test of how far the team has come under Neil Lennon’s stewardship.

The Bhoys go into the second leg of the play-off in Switzerland on the back of two matches without scoring a goal.

Manager Neil Lennon was scathing of his players after they followed a goalless first leg draw against the Swiss with a 1-0 home defeat to St Johnstone in the SPL.

The furious boss described his team as “wasteful, complacent and immature” after they missed a number of chances, including an early Kris Commons penalty.

Celtic were already under pressure to improve in Europe after bowing out of both competitions at the first hurdle last year following defeats to Braga and Utrecht.

So Maloney knows what’s at stake in Thursday’s second leg tie in Sion.

“We’ll just have to pick ourselves up,” the 28-year-old told the Celtic View.

“There’s no real option as we need to get ready for Thursday’s game as it’s vitally important.

“After dissecting the game we’ll have to start focusing on the Sion game. And that match takes on even more importance, considering the weekend’s results and the first-leg result.

“We were obviously hoping we would be coming into the game after a very good performance at the weekend. And for 45 minutes we did.

“But now we’ll be going into the Sion game coming off a bad result. So we’ll see how we cope. It’s days like this will prove how far the team’s come.

“Obviously last year we had a good result at home in the first leg but capitulated in the second. So we’ll see how far we’ve come on Thursday.”

Maloney expects the Swiss side to provide a stern test.

“I thought they came here very attack-minded,” said Maloney, who played in Celtic’s 2003 UEFA Cup final defeat by Porto.

“They had two up front and played a man off those two, so that’s about as attacking as you’re going to get, particularly away in Europe.

“So I would imagine it would be pretty much the same. I don’t know if they’ll play the same formation but they’re a good side.

“It’ll be difficult but certainly possible that we can beat them or get the draw which would see us through.”