After delivering an incredible performance in last week’s first leg tie, Celtic are all but assured of a place in the Champions League group stages ahead of Tuesday’s trip to take on Astana in Kazakhstan.
Brendan Rodgers’ men were simply too good for Stanimir Stoilov’s men last week, establishing what will surely prove to be an unassailable 5-0 lead at the halfway stage of the tie and, so, it is the Scottish champions who stand on the cusp of a place in the Champions League group stages for a second successive season.
Astana have little but pride to play for, but Stoilov’s side will be desperate to offer up a better account of themselves than they managed in Glasgow last week. dabblebet offer 7/4 (2.75) that the Kazakh outfit salvage some pride by winning the second leg, with 23/10 (3.30) that the match remains level at the end of 90 minutes.
The Hoops have won both of their away ties in this competition so far this season – 2-0 against Linfield in Belfast and 1-0 against Rosenborg in Trondheim – but, somewhat curiously, Celtic had chalked up just one win in 11 Champions League matches on the road prior to the current campaign.
That sequence of results includes a 1-1 draw against Astana last term, but Rodgers’ men will be determined to maintain momentum ahead of the group stages, with the Scottish champions likely to be handed a tough draw. There is 6/4 (2.50) that the Hoops go into the group stages on the back of a win in Kazakhstan.
Celtic stretched their unbeaten run in domestic competition to an astonishing 52 matches with a comfortable 2-0 win against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday afternoon. The Hoops have won without conceding in each of their last five fixtures on their travels in all competitions.
With the Hoops due to face in-form St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership this weekend – and with the outcome of this tie already decided barring a footballing miracle – Rodgers may well be tempted to shuffle his pack.
Should the Scottish champions take their foot off the pedal a little, there would certainly be a temptation to back fewer than three goals being scored at 4/5 (1.80). The selection would have landed in each of Celtic’s last four fixtures away from home, as well as in the previous meeting between these clubs in Kazakhstan.
Better value, though, could lie in backing the Hoops to win to nil against Stoilov’s men. The selection would have landed in seven of Celtic’s eight victories so far this season and, so, the 16/5 (4.20) quote may yield a profit for punters once again ahead of Tuesday’s tussle.