Celtic Can Overcome Belfast Hostility
Premier League legend Matt Le Tissier tips Celtic to shrug off poor pre-season form and gain a first leg advantage in the Champions League qualifier at Cliftonville on Wednesday.
Celtic enter their first competitive match of the season in ragged shape and manager Neil Lennon must be concerned about injuries to a number of key players who are unavailable for the trip to Northern Ireland. Celtic have lost all four pre-season friendlies (including a 6-2 mauling off German Division two side Greuther Furth) and will be without striker Gary Hooper who has a groin strain.
Matt Le Tissier tips: “Celtic are overwhelming favourites to progress but can expect some agricultural treatment at Cliftonville’s Solitude ground.
The visitors could be in for a tense night facing intimidation on and off the pitch with will be grateful to return to Glasgow with a narrow advantage. At 1-4 Celtic are too short to back for a win, so I’ll go for 2-0 correct score which looks better value at 13/2 with BetVictor”.
Adam Matthews, Charlie Mulgrew, Joe Ledley and Virgil van Dijk are injured, while new signing Steven Mouyokolo is unavailable and Lennon may have little alternative than to play Efe Ambrose who recently returned from Confederations Cup duty with Nigeria.
The Irish League champions have no new injury concerns ahead of the biggest game in the club’s history. Striker Liam Boyce is Cliftonville’s dangerman, he scored 36 goals for Reds in their title-winning season earning the 22-year-old the Northern Ireland Player of the Year award.