Everything is to play for in Group I but Celtic will need to win this one if they are to have a realistic chance of qualification to the final 32 of the Europa League.
The Spanish side won 2-0 on home soil in match day one of the group and will qualify for the knockout stages with a win in Glasgow. They are available at odds of 6/5 (Coral – £30 free bets) to do just that but in front of their passionate home fans Neil Lennon’s side will provide a much sterner examination.
Celtic can be backed at 13/5 (Victor Chandler – £75 free betting) and given they have won their last five home games, including a comfortable 3-1 win over Rennes, they look a decent bet. Although the standard of football in Scotland may not be great, the fact remains that Lennon’s side do have the best home record in the Scottish Premier League. They beat St Mirren 5-0 on Saturday and will be full of confidence for this one and desperate to avenge the defeat in Spain.
Gregorio Manzano’s team, in contrast, come into this fixture on the back of a 4-1 defeat. Of course, it may be worth noting that whilst St Mirren have some good players, they are not quite in the league of the Real Madrid team that dismantled Athletico. More serious encouragement for the home side will be the visitors’ appalling away record. Domestically they have taken just one point from six games on the road and in this competition they have won one and drawn one.
Celtic Park will be bouncing and this will definitely swing things the way of the home side. In Hooper and Stokes they have players in form and in the goals. They also have Samaras pressing for a start after a goal at the weekend. The Greek could well open the scoring (8/1 with Betfred) and set the Bhoys on the way to a crucial victory.