CELTIC look to keep alive their slim hopes of Europa League qualification when they entertain Ajax on Thursday night. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his thoughts.
Celtic v Ajax | Thursday 20:05 | BT Sport 2
It’s hard not to get the impression that life isn’t particularly exciting at Celtic just now. Cantering to the title while barley breaking sweat may make the chest puff out amongst their domestic peers but it’s been a miserable season in Europe with them failing to reach the Champions League group stages for the second successive season.
As well as their Champions League failure they’ve been fairly uninspiring in the Europa League too. An excellent 2-2 draw in their opening group game in Amsterdam against tonight’s opponents was an encouraging start but it’s been downhill from there.
A 2-0 lead against Fenerbahce in Glasgow evaporated as two home points were spilled before home and away defeats to unglamorous Norwegian side Molde. Celtic losing at Parkhead to Molde? How can this be? Sadly this is very much the state of affairs at the moment as Scottish football continues to take a pounding.
You’d never see a club like Ajax dissipate like that eh? Well actually…while we all moan and groan about Celtic, Ajax have hardly emerged with credit in this group.
After rescuing a late point against Celtic in September they then drew in Norway against Molde before taking one point out of six against Fenerbahce over their Matchday 3 and 4 games.
Now with no win to their name a win here is a must if Fenerbahce beat Molde in the other Group A game. Betfred make them 2/1 pokes to achieve that.
Another real concern for Celtic is their mounting injury problems. Captain Scott Brown is out along with Kris Commons (likely), Nir Bitton and Stefan Johansen. These are worrying times for Ronny Deila.
With just two wins in their last eight European matches this season and mounting injury worries there’s no way I can get involved with Celtic at 8/5. I get the impression their confidence is shot after a series of pummelling blows this season in Europe.
Ajax are 11/10 draw no bet with Skybet and it’s a price I’m happy to take. Despite an ordinary European campaign this season they look more resilient than Celtic (just four conceded in four group games) and have won 10 of their 13 league matches this season. Sadly, it’s hard to believe in Celtic just now.
Celtic v Ajax – Ajax draw bo bet (11/10 Skybet)
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