Celtic - Spartak Moscow Preview: Bhoys must better Benfica result to reach knockout stages
The Scottish giants came close to securing their spot in the last 16 before losing in Portugal but will be hopeful of getting a result against opponents who are already out
By Shane Farrington
Matthews, Ambrose, Wilson, Lustig
Ledley, Kayal, Commons, Mulgrew
Insaurralde, Suchy, Pareja, Kombarov
Carioca, De Zeeuw
McGeady, Kallstrom, Jurado
Celtic are currently without Scott Brown, who is sidelined with a hip injury, whilst Victor Wanyama is also unavailable through suspension after picking up a yellow card in the recent 2-1 loss to Benfica.
As for the visitors, Valeri Karpin is likely to freshen up the side from the starting XI that lost 4-2 at home to Zenit St Petersburg in their last match. Juan Manuel Insaurralde and ex-Celtic man Aiden McGeady were both used substitutes in that match and could start.
Demy de Zeeuw may also come in, possibly as an extra midfielder in place of one of their two strikers - Artem Dzyuba and Emmauel Emenike, with the Nigerian most likely to keep his place given his excellent scoring record in the competition so far.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Celtic are currently top of the SPL having taken 28 points from their 15 matches.
- The Scottish giants' last three Champions League games have finished 2-1 - a win and loss against Barcelona, and a defeat in their last match against Benfica
- The hosts won this competition back in 1967, beating Inter Milan 2-1 in the final in Lisbon.
- Spartak Moscow currently sit eighth in the Russian Premier League table, having taken 29 points from their 18 matches.
- Emmanel Emenike (pictured right) has an impressive goalscoring record in this season’s Champions League, having netted three goals in his five appearances.
- Ex-Valencia boss Unai Emery lasted six months at the club before his recent axing following a poor run of results.
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Top 3 Predictions
Celtic 2-1 Spartak
- 21.7 %
Celtic 2-0 Spartak
- 20.13 %
Celtic 3-1 Spartak
- 11.32 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Dec 5, 2012||Celtic 2 - Spartak 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 2, 2012||Spartak 2 - Celtic 3|
|Dec 11, 2013||FC Barcelona 6 - Celtic 1||UCL|
|Nov 26, 2013||Celtic 0 - AC Milan 3||UCL|
|Nov 6, 2013||Ajax 1 - Celtic 0||UCL|
|Oct 22, 2013||Celtic 2 - Ajax 1||UCL|
|Oct 1, 2013||Celtic 0 - FC Barcelona 1||UCL|
|29||Juan Manuel Insaurralde||Defender|
|20||Demy de Zeeuw||Midfielder|
The 28-year-old has arguably been the club’s stand-out performer in their Champions League run so far this season. With five goals and three assists from his eight appearances he has been their key scoring weapon. His guile and ability on the ball could well turn out to be instrumental against a Spartak side struggling at the back, and he will be hoping to add to his tally once more.
The 30-year-old joined the club over the summer from Lyon and has impressed so far for his new side. The midfielder possesses a decent range of passing and is equally adept at tackling. His ability to get himself forward into scoring areas is something that Celtic will have to keep a close eye on as he is more than capable of popping up to grab the odd goal.
It could well be a nervy night at Celtic Park with the hosts on the cusp of qualification. Their opponents only have pride to play for but could still pose a threat going forward, though Lennon’s side should just about have enough to edge it.