Europa League: Tough draw makes Celtic big outsiders

It proved to be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire as far as Celtic’s European ambitions are concerned after the Bhoys were handed a tricky group in the Europa League earlier today.

After the recent 2-0 defeat to Malmo put paid to Celtic’s attempts to reach the Champions’ League group stages for the first time under Ronny Deila, Hoops fans were hoping the balls would fall their way in today’s draw.

However, those hopes were also dashed with the Scottish champions being drawn alongside Ajax, Fenerbahce and Molde in Group A.

The nature of the draw means SPFL sponsors Ladbrokes have installed the Parkhead side as 50/1 outsiders to lift the Europa League this year.

Borussia Dortmund are the early favourites at 15/2, while the British march looks likely to be led by Liverpool, with the Reds chalked up as 14/1 second favourites.

Tottenham complete the British contingent and the Londoners can be backed at 18/1 to go all the way.

Bhoys goalkeeper Craig Gordon admits the draw has handed his side a tough challenge but one that provides Celtic with exactly the type of matches they crave.

“It’s a good draw with some very good teams and difficult opponents,” he told the club’s Twitter followers.

“That’s what you want – to test yourself again. [It’s] something to look forward to.”

Gordon is under no illusions that the Champions League remains the competition Celtic want to be involved in but the stopper says all thought and focus must now switch to the task at hand.

“You don’t make up for it, you move on and you have to face that challenge head on and perform well. You have to pick yourself up and go and face the next challenge,” he added.

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

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.