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Molde v Celtic background

Ole Gunnar Solskjær's return as Molde coach has raised the excitement levels as the Group A leaders take on a Celtic side coached by another Norwegian, Ronny Deila.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær winning the UEFA Champions League with United
Ole Gunnar Solskjær winning the UEFA Champions League with United ©Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has returned to take charge of Molde FK in UEFA Europa League Group A as they welcome a Celtic FC side managed by another former Norwegian title winner, Ronny Deila.

Previous meetings
• The clubs are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• Celtic's record in four games against Norwegian teams is W3 D0 L1 (W2 D0 L0 at home – W1 D0 L1 in Norway). That defeat came in the most recent of those games – a 2-0 UEFA Champions League group stage loss at Rosenborg on 23 October 2001.

• Molde came up against another Glaswegian outfit, Rangers FC, in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup first round, drawing 0-0 at home and losing 2-0 in their only previous fixture in Scotland. Current Molde captain Daniel Hestad skippered the team during both of those matches.

Form guide
• Molde are unbeaten in four European home games this season (W2 D2) and unexpectedly took four points from their first two Group A assignments – against Fenerbahçe SK and AFC Ajax.

• Celtic have drawn both of their Group A games 2-2 – they have conceded twice in each of their last four European matches: 2-2, 2-2, 0-2, 3-2.

• Molde are making their second appearance in this group stage, having missed out on the knockout phase in their maiden campaign in 2012/13.

• Celtic progressed to the round of 32 last term. It was their first successful UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage campaign after missing the cut in 2009/10 and 2011/12.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Glasgow to Molde is around 1,000km.

• Celtic boast Norwegian talent in the form of midfielder Stefan Johansen (FK Bodø/Glimt 2007–10, Strømsgodset IF 2011–13). Molde's Ola Kamara was one of his Strømsgodset team-mates, the pair winning the 2013 Norwegian title at the club under Deila.

• Celtic's Sweden right-back Mikael Lustig also played in Norway with Rosenborg (2008–11), where Molde's Mushaga Bakenga was one of his team-mates.

• Molde's midfield fulcrum Hestad is the oldest player registered in the group stage. Hestad is a Molde legend. He broke his father Stein Olav Hestad's Molde club appearance record while three of his uncles and his brother have played for the club at various times.

• Celtic's Saidy Janko turns 20 on the day of the Molde game.

• Molde and Celtic are among ten domestic champions in this season's group stage, along with KF Skenderbëu (Albania), Qarabağ FK (Azerbaijan), APOEL FC (Cyprus), FC Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic), FC Midtjylland (Denmark), KKS Lech Poznań (Poland), FK Partizan (Serbia) and FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland).

The coaches
• A defender in his native Norway, Deila was hired by Celtic in 2014 after a six-year spell in charge of Strømsgodset, who he led to a Norwegian Cup in 2010 and a league title in 2013. He won another title in his first season at Parkhead.

• Ole Gunnar Solskjær was reappointed as Molde coach on the eve of matchday three, taking over from caretaker boss Erling Moe.

• The former Manchester United forward scored 31 goals in 38 games for Molde before moving to Old Trafford, and coached the club from 2011-14, winning two league titles and a national cup before heading on to Cardiff City.

• In his only previous meeting with Celtic, Solskjær came off the bench to score the winner in a 3-2 UEFA Champions League group stage success in September 2006.

• Deila's Strømsgodset succeeded Solskjær's Molde as Norwegian champions in 2013; Molde finished sixth that season.