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Nordic Juggernaut Bodø/Glimt Scores 2 Manchester Cityesque Goals To Power Past Celtic

Casual soccer fans are probably unfamiliar with Bodø/Glimt, a Norwegian side located in the Arctic Circle. Knowledgeable fans will recognize the club as a promising side that has been gutted by recent departures. But real ones know that regardless of who Glimt puts on the field, they are an offensive juggernaut that can play with anyone in Europe. 

Glimt went undefeated in the group stage of the Europa Conference League — including a forceful 6-1 victory over Serie A side AS Roma. Den Gule Horde is also coming off a second consecutive league title in the Eliteserien. 

But Glimt came to Glasgow on Thursday with many questions to be answered.

How would the club fare in its first competitive match in two months (it's preseason in Norway)? Could Glimt cope with the loss of their four best players during the January transfer window, a year after losing arguably the best front three Scandinavian football has ever seen? And how would the side stack up against a Celtic team that leads the Scottish Premiership and hasn't lost a domestic match since October?

Within the first 10 minutes, no one was questioning Bodø/Glimt any longer.

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Starting with a goal kick in the Glimt end, the visitors moved forward with pace and purpose. Eight passes later, Runar Espejord gave Glimt the lead with a cool first-time finish following some slick interplay at the edge of the penalty area.

Celtic responded with an extended period of possession but couldn't quite find that final pass. Glimt had fewer attacking chances, but they found another goal early in the second half.

Building from the back again, Glimt quickly progressed into the Celtic defensive third. Ola Solbakken received the ball on the right wing, split the double team and centered the ball. The pass was behind Espejord but the Norwegian flicked the ball between his legs to the wide-open Amahl Pellegrino at the far post, who doubled Glimt's lead.

Daizen Maeda briefly gave the hosts hope when he found the back of the net in the 79th minute, but Glimt responded once again. Following their trademark team huddles that often happen after conceding a goal, a lightning-quick Glimt attack resulted in Hugo Vetlesen receiving the ball in acres of space on the edge of the penalty area.

His deflected strike looped over the head of Celtic keeper Joe Hart, and just 86 seconds after conceding, Glimt restored its two-goal lead.

The match ended with a 3-1 Glimt victory. While away goals no longer act as a tie-breaker in UEFA competitions, Bodø/Glimt will be confident for the return leg in Norway next week.

The Nordic side also drew heavy praise from Scottish media.

"I thought it was a brilliant performance from Bodo/Glimt with and without the ball," James McFadden of BBC Scotland said. "They were tough for Celtic to break down, and impressive on the break as well. I was looking forward to seeing them tonight — you hear good things, especially with their 6-1 win over Roma. Celtic had most of the possession but couldn't find the final pass — they didn't have the same speed about their play."

The entire population of Bodø could fit inside Celtic Park — with nearly 11,000 seats to spare — but it was the unheralded visitors from the Arctic Circle that humbled Scotland's preeminent club.

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