SCOTTISH football expert Mr Fixit (@MrFixitTips) previews Thursday night’s Europa League contest between Celtic and Zenit.
Celtic v Zenit | Thursday 15th February 2018, 20:05 | BT Sport
Celtic lost all three Champions League group games at home and could be beaten again by Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday night.
The Russians are a class act and unless Brendan Rodgers’s side play at the top of their form they’ll be facing a Europa League exit.
Roberto Mancini’s men dropped just two points in the Europa League group stage and while they’ve been in cold storage this is a scenario they face every season.
Celtic will hope to take advantage of any ring rust and will also be boosted by the fact Zenit have failed to win any of their last five away league matches.
Zenit are strong favourites to qualify at 8/15 with William Hill and Ladbrokes and it’s tough to dispute. Celtic are 9/5 at Marathon. To win on the night Zenit are slight outsiders at 7/4 with William Hill while Celtic are 13/8 with the draw paying 12/5.
Keeping clean sheets has been a problem for Rodgers and he might need one to have a chance in Russia. But it’s doubtful with Craig Gordon and Dedryck Boyata out. I can see both scoring at 8/13 with Betfred while Zenit are 27/20 to score 2+ – they netted 17 in six group games.
Leigh Griffiths is a big miss for Rodgers in attack so the question is can Moussa Dembele rediscover his best form. He is 5/1 at Unibet to score first but it might be better taking a chance on weekend hat-trick hero James Forrest to net at any time at 3/1 with Paddy Power.
For Zenit their dangermen are Aleksandr Kokorin who has his eight goals in Europe while Emiliano Rigoni has six from midfield. Kokorin is 5/1 at Black Type to score first while Rigoni is 9/1 at bet365.