Celtic return to action in midweek when hosting Ferencvarosi in the Champions League second qualifying round. Our Scottish football expert Frankie Monkhouse previews...
"Celtic have kept a clean sheet in each of their last two games and are 11/8 to win to nil again. "
Bhoys back in town
With the result of Sunday's 2020 Champions League final now in the books, UEFA's premier football tournament quickly moves on to the 2020/21 campaign. Some 11 matches are scheduled for Wednesday in the Champions League qualifying second round and Scottish champions Celtic are in action as they host Ferencvarosi TC in Glasgow.
Unlike in previous years, the qualifiers will be one leg affairs with the tie settled over the course of 90 minutes - extra-time and penalties available if required. Neil Lennon's Hoops enjoy home advantage and they'll be eager to make it count and bag the win that is expected of them against the champions of Hungary.
Celtic cruise past Reykjavik
Celtic may have won the Scottish Premiership with a bit to spare but they entered this season's UEFA Champions League at the qualifying first round, something that angers many fans. The Hoops made a mockery of that early involvement with a comfortable win over KR Reykjavik last Tuesday. Mohamed Elyounoussi scored a double in an emphatic 6-0 win with the other goals coming from Christopher Jullien, Greg Taylor, Odsonne Edouard and an OG from Arnor Adalsteinsson.
The Bhoys followed that home win with a 1-0 victory over Dundee United at Tannadice last time out, edging out the newly promoted Tangerines in what was a tense affair. New striker Albian Ajeti netted his first goal for the club when scoring what turned out to be the winner with 83 minutes on the clock. It was a little too close for comfort for many supporters but Celtic banked the points and kept their quest for 10-in-a-row firmly on track. Manager Neil Lennon told reporters the attitude of his players was tremendous.
Green Eagles play without fear
Hungarian side Ferencvarosi TC arrive in Glasgow knowing they are up against it and the home team are firm favourites to progress but they will emerge from the tunnel knowing they have nothing to lose. All the pressure is on the shoulders of their opponents who are expected to reach the group stages of this competition. Green Eagles will be hoping to capitalise on any nerves in the home defence, looking to hit on the counter as well as taking advantage of set pieces around the box.
Ferencvarosi TC reached this second qualifying round thanks to a strong 2-0 win over Djurgardens IF last Wednesday. They were the home tie for that tie and did what was expected of them, booking their slot in the next round without encountering too much fuss along the way. Chol Nguen was the standout player than evening, scoring each of his employer's two goals and he'll be the one Lennon and the Celtic coaching staff will be keen to keep an eye on.
Hosts hot favourites
Ferencvarosi TC were impressive in the previous round and more than deserved their trip to Glasgow but they now face a much sterner test against a Celtic side who target a place in the group stages and have experience of going further. The Hungarians will want to keep things tight at the back and keep the scores blank for as long as possible but if Celtic break the deadlock early things could get ugly as the home team go through the gears.
There are no surprises in the pre-match betting on the Betfair Sportsbook with Celtic priced at 4/11 for the win. Ferencvarosi can be backed at 11/2 to cause a real upset and leave the Hoops' season lying in tatters before the end of August. There's 18/5 trading for those who can't split the pair and rate the chances of a draw.
Trust the Hoops defence
The match betting has Celtic as convincing favourites and it's difficult to argue against that stance. There are many other ways to support the home win on the Betfair Sportsbook, however, with some decent prices available. Celtic have kept a clean sheet in each of their last two games and are 11/8 to win to nil again. That looks worth a shot. Those with a bit more confidence can try Celtic -2 @ 10/3.
Both Celtic and Ferencvarosi TC had joy in front of goal in the last round and neutrals will want to see another entertaining 90 minutes here. Over 2.5 goals in this game is priced at 8/11 or there's 11/10 on the Sportsbook about under that mark.