Celtic could be in for a difficult night in Amsterdam


Celtic take on fellow European Cup-winning giant Ajax on Thursday night needing to be on their guard to keep out a young and exciting Dutch side.

Turkish giants Fenerbache and Norwegian champions Molde complete Group A in this season’s Europa League, and though the Bhoys are 4/1 to win the group, qualification is certainly achievable.

Ronny Deila’s men face arguably their toughest clash straight away with a trip to Ajax however.

The hosts are 17/20 favourites to win the match, with Ladbrokes pricing Celtic at 7/2 and the draw a little more likely at 9/4.

For those who believe Celtic will conjure another great European night though, Ladbrokes have enhanced Leigh Griffiths to score and Celtic to win to 8/1.

Like Celtic, four-time European Cup champions Ajax also failed to successfully negotiate the Champions League qualifiers this summer, but under Frank de Boer they have responded in fine style.

The Amsterdam side are unbeaten after five games, winning four times while plundering in 14 goals.

Having been comfortably beaten by PSV to the title last term, de Boer has turned to youth this season, with the performances of 20-year-old Anwar El-Ghazi attracting attention throughout the continent.

El-Ghazi is yet to score in Europe, but six strikes in the Eredivisie this season’s demands attention from Celtic’s back-line.

The winger is 9/2 to score first.

Having thrown away a 1-0 lead on Sunday at Aberdeen, a visit to a youthful, pacey and exciting side could be the last thing the Bhoys need.

The Hoops have won just two of their last six away games, suffering defeats in their last two, while only Rapid Vienna have left the Amsterdam Arena as victorious visitors this term.

In contrast, Ajax have won their last three home games to nil, but the quality of the Dutch Premier division is always debatable, and they’ll be up against an in-form Leigh Griffiths.

The 25-year-old was awarded the Ladbrokes Premiership Player of the Month award for August, following a superb start to the year.

Griffiths has netted nine times in all competitions, including three in Europe, and Ajax won’t have come up against player in such form.

Having netted in six of his last seven games for the club, Griffiths looks excellent value at 23/10 to score anytime.

Celtic may not come away from Amsterdam with three points, but with Griffiths in his current form, they’ll be a threat up front and Ajax to win and both teams to score at 3/1 is worth a look.