5 things you may not know about Celtic’s Champions League foes


Having dispatched of KR Reykjavik in the qualifying stages for the Champions League 12 months ago, Celtic will know what it takes to succeed against Icelandic opposition when they take on Stjarnan on Wednesday.

The Bhoys are 1/14 to secure a first leg victory over the champions from the island nation, with the visitors a massive 18/1 shot and the draw priced up at 9/1.

It’s been four years since the green half of Glasgow failed to make the third-qualifying round of the Champions League, and Ronny Deila will be making sure he knows just what to expect from this year’s opponents.

We will leave the scouting and tactics to the man in charge at Parkhead, as we look to get you up to scratch with Stjarnan. Here are five things you may not have known about Celtic’s upcoming opponents.

  1. 1. You may have seen them in action already

While you may not have access to the Icelandic version of Match of the Day, over 3,000,000 people have seen Stjarnan do what they do best in recent years.

It is not necessarily their football that has brought about joy and laughter to the online masses, but their ingenious inventiveness when it comes to a goal celebration…

  1. 2. They have Premier League pedigree in their squad

OK, he may have only managed one appearance in the English top flight, but Stjarnan goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen has been on the books at the likes of Manchester City and Blackburn in the past.

After several spells in the lower leagues on loan, he moved onto various Scandinavian clubs and spent two years at Motherwell, with whom he conceded 11 goals in three matches against Celtic.

  1. 3. They like to leave it late

While they went the whole of the 2014 season without losing a match, heading into their final fixture against FH, Rúnar Páll Sigmundsson’s side were sat in second place.

They remained there until they were awarded a 93rd minute penalty to snatch the title from their opponents at the last possible moment. You can relieve the moment below, and you don’t need to speak Icelandic to appreciate the commentary…

  1. 4. They have form against Scottish sides

Celtic only have to look to fellow Scottish Premiership side Motherwell to appreciate that they cannot underestimate their forthcoming foes.

After two 2-2 draws after 90 minutes, the sides Europa League qualifier last year looked to be heading to penalties. That was until this effort from Atli Johannsson put Stjarnan through, and sent our commentator friend into raptures once again.

  1. 5. Their ladies side are a dominant force in Icelandic football

While taking the Urvalsdeild title in only their fifth season in the top-flight, the achievements of Stjarnan’s men’s team pales into significance when compared to their female counterparts.

The club’s ladies team has won three of the last four championships, winning every match in their 2014 campaign, a feat that Celtic, even in a Rangers-less Premiership, can only dream of.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.