AEK Athens v Celtic | Tuesday 14th August 2018, 19:00 | BT Sport
Greece is the word for Celtic on Tuesday night and fans Hopelessly Devoted to Brendan Rodgers will be praying for a rescue job.
The Celtic manager is under pressure for the first time after lifting the double treble and all isn’t right off the pitch.
On it the champions suffered defeat at Hearts on Saturday after being held 1-1 by AEK Athens. Now they head to Greece knowing they have to score and not lose. A 1-1 means extra time but 2-2 puts them through on away goals.
Before the first leg I said Celtic needed to win at home and I stand by that. Rodgers’ record in Champions League away games suggest AEK will win and the Dedryck Boyata situation hasn’t helped.
With “injured” Boyata staying at home, Kristoffer Ajer banned and Marvin Compper crocked, it’s difficult to see how the Hoops will keep a clean sheet with young Jack Hendry and Jozo Simunovic forming a centre-half pairing.
Although 0-0 would put the Greeks through I’m surprised to see them as big as 8/5 (from 9/5) at Bet365 with the draw paying 21/10. Celtic were slight favourites on the night but have drifted to 85/40 with Marathon. Celtic are evens at Paddy Power to qualify with AEK looking decent value at 4/5 at Bet365.
The Greeks are tough to break down and Rodgers will have to come up with something special to take his team through to a meeting against Vidi or Malmo. After a 1-1 draw away, the Hungarians are slight underdogs to qualify at evens with bet365.
Odsonne Edouard has gone a bit quiet after an electric start to the season and will need to be at his best but worringly sat out Monday’s training session in Athens. He is 9/2 with William Hill to score first and 17/10 to net at any time.
Moussa Dembele is fit again and the same odds but is unlikely to start, while Leigh Griffiths looked rusty against Hearts.
It’s all stacked against Rodgers and while I’d love to see Celtic qualify for the sake of Scottish football, it would be one if his best results if he pulled it off.
AEK are 10/3 with bet365 to win to nil and they’ll do their best to achieve it.
AEK Athens v Celtic – AEK Athens to qualify (4/5 Bet365)