Helsingborgs - Celtic Betting Preview: Goals may prove hard to come by in tense clash

Neil Lennon's side have managed just two European away wins in nine years and Willie Duncan believes that the Hoops may settle for a draw when they face the Reds on Tuesday
Scottish champions Celtic begin their quest to participate in the group stages of the Uefa Champions League for the first time in three years when they travel to Sweden to face Helsingborgs on Tuesday night.

Celtic qualified for this phase of the competition with the help of a rare European away victory over HJK Helsinki in the last round – only their second away victory in Europe for nine years – and Neil Lennon’s side are chalked up at 6/4 (2.50) with Paddy Power to repeat the feat with victory in Sweden.

The Hoops have been sluggish in their opening Scottish Premier League fixtures but Tuesday’s opponents have hardly been in inspiring form either with the Reds currently languishing in fifth in the table, 10 points adrift of Allsvenskan leaders Elfsborg.

Indeed, Helsingborgs lost 2-1 at Elfsborg at the weekend and are priced up at 17/10 (2.70) with Paddy Power to bounce back with victory over Celtic on Tuesday while the same firm go 9/4 (3.25) that the match finishes all square.

Helsingborgs, though, can take some comfort from a fairly impressive home record which has seen the Swedish side lose just once in 10 league meetings at Olympia.

Goals have proved hard to come by for Neil Lennon’s side so far this term, with the Hoops managing just one goal in each of their two league fixtures so far – one courtesy of a dreadful goalkeeping error and the other a last-gasp equaliser against newly promoted Ross County at the weekend – and a lack of firepower may be a concern for Lennon’s side here.

Given the Hoops’ lack of goals, the 8/11 (1.73) for fewer than three goals to be scored here looks to be an outstanding play, especially as Lennon will feel confident that if his side can keep the tie tight, they will have sufficient quality to complete the job at Celtic Park next week.

A low-scoring match is anticipated and another route to value might be the even money (2.0) quote from Paddy Power that the match is all square at half-time with a 0-0 half-time scoreline excellent value at 7/4 (2.75) with the Irish bookmaker.

There is also a doubt about whether Helsingborg will have enough quality to take a lead into the second leg in Glasgow, so the stalemate at 9/4 (3.25) looks to be the best play here with Paddy Power, while the 5/1 (6.0) quote from the same firm for the match to finish 1-1 is sure to appeal to value hunters.

Draw at 9/4 (3.25) with Paddy Power
1-1 draw at 5/1 (6.0) with Paddy Power

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter