Celtic-Cliftonville Betting Preview: Hoops likely to strike early

Neil Lennon's men have one foot in the next round of the Champions League and Willie Duncan expects the Scottish champions to stroll to victory over Thomas Breslin's side
Celtic have a three-goal lead going into the second leg of the Champions League second qualifying round tie with Cliftonville and Neil Lennon’s side are red-hot favourites to cement their place in the next round when they meet at Celtic Park on Tuesday night.

The Hoops cruised to a 3-0 victory in Belfast and are available at just 1/25 (1.04) to enjoy another victory over Thomas Breslin’s side in Glasgow on Tuesday.

The enormity of the task facing the Irish Premiership champions is highlighted by William Hill’s chunky 33/1 (34.0) quote that the Reds shock the Hoops by claiming victory at Celtic Park while the same firm go 10/1 (11.0) that the second leg ends in a draw.

Despite their healthy first-leg lead, Neil Lennon has suggested in the build-up to this fixture that he will field a strong side against Thomas Breslin’s men and, with star striker Gary Hooper set to return to the Celtic squad, it could be a difficult night for the Reds.

With the win-draw-win markets so lopsided, it is difficult to find the value ahead of this clash but the 8/5 (2.60) quote from William Hill for Celtic to score the majority of their goals in the first half is certainly an interesting prospect.

Celtic scored two first-half goals in Belfast last week before taking the foot off the pedal after the interval and, should that pattern be repeated here, then there is little doubt that the 8/5 (2.60) quote for the Hoops to score most of their goals before the break is hugely tempting.

Lennon’s men will be keen to make an early breakthrough and the 7/5 (2.40) quote from William Hill for the Hoops to score their first goal inside the opening 15 minutes is likely to prove popular with punters here.

Cliftonville are playing for very little other than pride and they may find the trip to Celtic Park too daunting so the juicy 5/1 (6.0) quote from William Hill for the Hoops to record a thumping 4-0 win is the value play here.

Most Celtic goals in the first half at 8/5 (2.60) with William Hill Celtic to win 4-0 at 5/1 (6.0) with William Hill

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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

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