Celtic close in on Champions League progression over Stjarnan
Celtic can take another step closer to securing Champions League qualification, as they go into their second leg clash with Icelandic side Stjarnan with a two-goal lead from the opening encounter at Parkhead.
On home soil, the Bhoys comfortably rallied to a 2-0 triumph, with new defensive acquisition Dedryck Boyata netting first before half-time and Stefan Johansen doubling the gap just after the break.
Deila’s Scottish Premiership champions face a tough away test, though, as the Glasgow giants travel to play on an artificial pitch in front of a 1000-capacity crowd.
However, Celtic come into the meeting in good form, having recently dispatched La Liga side Eibar 4-1 in a pre-season friendly, with Leigh Griffiths slotting home a terrific treble in the Basque country.
The Hoops hitman is expecting a much more difficult test on their long trip to Iceland, though.
“It [the Eibar game] was a good test for us going into Wednesday night,” Griffiths stated.
“We got the win last Wednesday, but I don’t think we played as well as we could have and we showed against Eibar what we’re all about.
“I got 90 minutes so I’m feeling sharp, but it’s a different kettle of fish on Wednesday night with the Champions League.
“Whatever team the manager goes with, we need to put in the performance, get the win and make sure we get into the next round.”
Deila will hope his in-form frontman can continue his form into this crucial Champions League contest against a team that have been struggling of late, having fallen 10 points adrift of domestic leaders KR in Urvalsdeild.
Their boss Runar Pall Sigmundsson has declared that his men must improve vastly if they are to cause a shock on home soil (11/1 to win to nil).
“We have been dominating games,” he said. “But we are not taking our chances and it ends up costing us.
“We have to improve in future games, starting against Celtic. I don’t think we are playing badly, but we need a break to help our season and our strikers need to do more.”
Celtic will face either Azerbaijani side Qarabag or Rudar Pljevlja or Montenegro in the next round, should they prevail in Iceland, and are 11/4 to win both halves of their second leg.
Betting tip: Celtic to win and both teams to score @ 16/5