Celtic get their Champions League qualifying campaign underway on Tuesday. Betfair's football writer Frankie Monkhouse previews...
"With both squads still lacking match sharpness and Postecoglou’s first game in charge, we expect to see goals."
Thrown into the deep end
New Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou barely has his coat off, and he faces his first major test as boss of the Hoops. Celtic host Danish side Midtjylland at Parkhead on Tuesday in the Champions League qualifying second round.
The former Australian national team manager has been tasked with returning the glory days. That involves winning the Scottish Premiership title back from Rangers and leading his new employers through to the group stages of UEFA's elite competition.
The summer re-building project continues for Ange and his backroom staff, but they must prepare their current crop of players for a crucial match. Celtic will be desperate to make home advantage count and secure a win and aggregate lead before travelling to Denmark for the second leg next Wednesday.
Will Postecoglou get his career off to a winning start? You can place your bets on dozens of markets available on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Postecoglou feeling frustrated
A summer re-build was expected, but Celtic haven't been nearly as active in the transfer market as fans would have hoped ahead of this crucial match. The Hoops have brought in winger Liel Abada from Maccabi Petah Tikva, Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide from Sheffield Wednesday and Japanese attacker Kyogo Furuhashi formerly of Vissel Kobe. All are expected to play a part in this tie, although the latter heads into self-isolation after arriving in Glasgow and misses this game.
The manager, who expressed his frustration at not being able to get signings made quick enough following a 1-0 friendly defeat to Preston, has other worries. Defender Kristoffer Ajer looks set to leave for Brentford. James Forrest is a major injury doubt, while Mikey Johnston and Karamoko Dembele suffered knocks last week. Despite missing the defeat to Preston at Parkhead, Ismaila Soro, Ryan Christie and Nir Bitton should return.
Wolves hungry for success
Midtjylland arrive in Glasgow knowing all the pressure is on the home team. The Danes will hope to keep things tight in this match and ensure the tie remains competitive for the return leg at MCH Arena next Wednesday. An away goal would do wonders for their chances of pulling off an upset and delivering an early blow to this new look Celtic team.
The Wolves last visited Scotland to play Rangers in the Europa League less than two years ago and were comfortably beaten, losing 3-1 at Ibrox and 7-3 on aggregate. Midtjylland found the net in both games against Steven Gerrard's side and will fancy their chances of doing the same here. The Scottish champions have given Midtjylland a helping hand by allowing them to use the Rangers' training complex ahead of this clash. That hasn't gone down well, as you would expect.
Bhoys boosted by fan return
Despite Celtic's injury worries and problems in the transfer market ahead of this match, they start as favourites on the Betfair Sportsbook in the match betting and to progress. Those who fancy a home win on Tuesday can back the Hoops at odds on 2.05. Celtic win and both teams to score offers a shot at a bigger price with 4.20 trading.
Anything better than a heavy defeat will give Midtjylland encouragement ahead of the second leg. Their opponents won't be cheered on by a capacity crowd, but they will have the backing of nearly 10,000 supporters. If Wolves can keep the hosts from scoring, the natives will soon become restless. The away win is 3.309/4, the draw 3.25.
Goals expected in Glasgow
The Danish Superliga has already begun, so the visitors should have a slight edge in terms of fitness. Midtjylland did lose their opening league match at home on Friday, beaten 2-1 by Odense Boldklub. Both teams to score on Tuesday trades at 1.46, or you can try no in the same market at 2.10.
As the game comes early in the season with both squads still lacking match sharpness and Postecoglou's first game in charge, we expect to see goals. Over 2.5 looks worth a gamble at 1.90 and could do a job in multiples. Under the same mark is 1.87.