Celtic were given a Europa League reprieve after FC Sion were found guilty of field ineligible players, although Neil Lennon’s team have a very tricky qualifying group and found Atletico Madrid too hot to handle a fortnight ago.
Udinese are next in line for the Hoops on Thursday night and a defeat in this match could see them six points adrift of qualifying, so it is imperative that they take at least a point from the game.
The Glasgow side are second in the Scottish Premier League and come into this game off the back of two victories, although they can expect Italian opposition to present a far sterner challenge than the ones received from Ross County and Inverness.
Ladbrokes (£50 free bets) offer odds of 11/8 about Celtic claiming the win, although it should be noted that Udinese finished fourth in Serie A last season and came pretty close to knocking Arsenal out of the Champions League last month.
It remains to be seen how seriously the visitors take this competition, although they began the group stage with a 2-1 win over Rennes and the 9/4 (bet365 – £200 free betting) about an away win looks way too big.
Antonio Di Natale is the master marksman for Udinese and the Italian striker is an 11/2 chance to break the deadlock, while Celtic’s best chance of scoring comes from the classy Gary Hooper who recently applied an exquisite finish in the Old Form derby and could take advantage of any changes made to the opposition’s team.