Bodo Glimt deny huddle gamesmanship against Celtic as coach Kjetil Knutsen responds to Aberdeen link

Bodo/Glimt have sought to rebuff suggestions there was chicanery in them staging a huddle immediately after conceding in their 3-1 win at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.

Breaking off from taking their positions for the restart in the moments that followed Daizen Maeda reducing the deficit in the first leg of the Conference League play-off to 2-1 with 11 minutes of normal time remaining, the Norwegians appeared to stage an impromptu version of Celtic’s renowned pre-match ritual. The action smacked of either a delaying tactic just as Ange Postecoglou’s men scented a comeback or noising up the crowd in aping a practice synonymous with their opponents. The surprise move certainly seemed to pay off as the visitors instantly responded with a third goal to put them in a commanding position in the tie ahead of next Thursday’s return leg.

However, Bodo/Glimt midfielder Hugo Vetlesen maintains there was nothing underhand, or unusual, about their response to Celtic netting. “That’s what we do after every goal we concede,” he said. “It’s about gathering the boys together and saying we have to be smart with what we do, and we got a good response by scoring a goal. It was a hard game, but we knew we had a good intensity in our team and we work hard every day. We had a training camp in Spain for over a month [to prepare for the tie across the Norwegian close season].”

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The adroitness and clinical nature of his team when placed in such an exacting environment for a first competitive game in two months can be considered another feather in the cap of Kjetil Knutsen, one of the coming coaches in the European game. The admirers are stacking up for the 53-year-old following back-to-back league titles and progression from the group stages of the Conference League – wherein they battered Roma 6-1 before drawing at the Stadio Olimpico - helming the modest club situated north of the Arctic Circle. These are understood to have included the Aberdeen board in the aftermath of sacking Stephen Glass a week ago, and ahead of their interest in St MIrren’s Jim Goodwin. Knutsen played a straight bat on any overtures made by the Pittodrie club. “I think you understand I’m really happy to be the head coach for this club,” he said. “And I don’t think it’s the moment to answer any speculation.”

Bodo's players form a huddle to delay the restart in the aftermath of losing a goal that made it 2-1 in what they instantly turned into a 3-1 victory in their Conference League play-off first leg at Celtic Park on Thursday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

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