It’s been a long time coming, and Celtic have certainly faced a battle or two to get here. But the Champions League is finally back! New Bhoys manager Brendan Rodgers has done a magnificent job up to this point in taking his side to the group stages.
His reward? Trips to Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach.
So, can the Scottish champions upset the Catalans? Ladbrokes News thinks so…
They’re both current title holders in their respective domestic leagues, picking up a combined total of 177 points from a possible 228 last term. But as they head into their 2016-17 Champions League openers, it’s Celtic who are in the finer form.
Maximum points from their opening four league games this season puts them in pole position in Scotland, and a 5-1 victory this weekend against local rivals Rangers is just the confidence boost Rodgers’ side needed before heading to one of the best teams in world football.
Meanwhile, Barcelona suffered an embarrassing defeat on Saturday evening at the hands of La Liga minnows Alaves.
And although neither Lionel Messi nor Luis Suarez started that game, both came off the bench with a substantial amount of time remaining – they couldn’t inspire their side to a point or more.
Celtic have certainly enjoyed the limelight lately, and tonight’s tie with Barcelona will be their twelfth competitive fixture of the campaign to date, meaning Rodgers’ men will arguably be going into this tie with the upper hand in terms of match fitness.
And they were hardly brushed aside by the Spanish outfit when the two European giants locked horns back in July in the International Champions Cup, losing 3-1 in Dublin.
Let’s not forget, Alaves were 40/1 to beat Luis Enrique’s men, meaning the 28/1 on Celtic to make it two defeats in two for Messi and co looks like great value.
Elsewhere, there could be some value in the 25/1 for Celtic Draw No Bet, as it’s likely Rodgers will field a defensive-minded 11 with the hope of snatching a goal on the counter attack.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.