Celtic stretched their unbeaten run in domestic competition to an incredible 51 matches with a slender 1-0 win against Partick Thistle on Friday night – but it is on the European stage that Brendan Rodgers’ men are hoping to make their mark on Wednesday evening.
The Hoops claimed a nerve-shredding 1-0 aggregate victory against Rosenborg in the previous round of this competition and, so, it is Kazakh champions Astana who stand between the Hoops and a place in the Champions League group stages for a second successive season.
With the exception of a nervy 0-0 home draw against the Norwegians in the first leg of that victory in the previous round of this competition, the Scottish champions have been flawless so far this season; indeed, Celtic have won each of their other six competitive fixtures this term, scoring 17 goals and conceding just once in reply.
With such an impressive run of form behind them, it is perhaps unsurprising that Celtic are as short as 2/5 (1.40) with bet365 to bag a vital victory in the first leg of this tie.
Astana, though, will feel that they are capable of causing an upset. These two teams locked horns in Champions League qualifying last season, with Celtic only coming through by virtue of a last gasp penalty from Moussa Dembele to secure a 3-2 aggregate victory against the Kazakhs.
The odds compilers, though, clearly expect the Hoops to be far more comfortable on this occasion, for bet365 offer 6/1 (7.0) that Astana win this first leg fixture, while the same firm go 15/4 (4.75) that the tie remains level at the end of 90 minutes.
Celtic have scored nine goals in their last two games on home soil and bet365 offer a tempting 5/4 (2.25) that the Hoops come out on top in a tie that features at least three goals, while the Scottish champions can be backed at 7/4 (2.75) to score more than two goals in this game.
Defensive discipline, however, has been at the heart of Celtic’s Champions League campaign this season, with the Hoops shutting out the opposition in each of their previous four outings in the competition this term and another solid showing could provide Rodgers’ men with the platform that they will want on this occasion.
Therefore, bet365’s 21/20 (2.05) quote for Celtic to win to nil against Astana in Glasgow may represent best value for punters ahead of this crucial Champions League clash.