Celtic’s place in the Europa League has finally been confirmed after their qualifying round conquerors, FC Sion’s, appeal to be reinstated into the competition was rejected. It’s the Hoops and not the Swiss outfit then that will head to Atletico Madrid in Group I.
Neil Lennon’s side are as high as 14/1 with Ladbrokes to top the group but given their failure to get the better of FC Sion, it’s difficult to see them out-pointing Rennes, Udinese and Atletico and indeed, the latter are rightly considered strong favourites by Totesport, at 4/9, to send Celtic home from the Vicente Calderon Stadium empty-handed.
The Hoops’ struggles in breaking down their qualifying opponents point to a home win ‘to nil’, available at a generous 13/8 (Ladbrokes) and in attack for the La Liga side, Falcao is set to be a key man.
The Colombian star, who moved to Atletico for £35m last month, proved unstoppable in this competition last season, firing in 17 goals in 14 matches and he can pick up where he left off by scoring past Lennon’s men. William Hill quote the ex-Porto attacker at 4/1 to break the deadlock and he’s 21/20 via to notch at any time.
Celtic aren’t the only ‘Hoops’ in the Europa League, Irish outfit Shamrock Rovers contest Group A having stunned FK Partizan in the qualifiers. Michael O’Neill’s charges however, are expected to struggle and they’re 4/7 courtesy of Coral to start with a defeat at home to
The hosts can nevertheless give the Tallaght Stadium crowd a goal to cheer and Stan James chalk 11/10 against both teams finding the net.