Bet on Celtic to edge must-win clash with Ajax
Celtic boss Neil Lennon insists that he will be happy with a point from his side’s Champions League away match against Ajax, but he is simply attempting to manage expectations.
The Scottish Premier League-leaders would be in with a real shout of qualifying for the last 16 of this competition for the second year running if they can build on their 2-1 home win against the legendary Dutch outfit.
Lennon’s Bhoys must throw all they’ve got at Ajax, who are going through a run of poor form and currently sit sixth in the Eredivisie.
Celtic to win @ 7/2
The SPL champions recorded their first away win in the Champions League group stages when they beat Spartak Moscow 3-2 at the Luzhniki Stadium 13 months ago.
Lennon’s men left everything out on the pitch in Moscow and were 2-1 down before a 71st-minute own-goal and Georgios Samaras’ dramatic winner in the last minute sealed the victory.
That win set them up for a glorious Group G campaign, with the Hoops eventually pipping Benfica to second place and qualifying for the last 16 of Europe’s elite competition.
Victory in Amsterdam against an Ajax outfit that are winless in their last four games would give Celtic a great chance of repeating that achievement, with out-of-form Group H second-placed side AC Milan still to visit Parkhead.
Kris Commons to score the first goal @ 9/1
The former Derby County midfielder is expected to return against the Eredivisie champions after missing Celtic’s last three games with a hamstring injury.
Commons has scored five goals for the Bhoys this season and four of them have broken the deadlock in their respective matches.
It was his nerveless 82nd-minute winner from the penalty spot in the 2-1 home win against Spartak last December that sent the Parkhead crowd into raptures and his side through to a last-16 clash with Juventus.
The 30-year-old is Celtic’s resident penalty taker and has already converted from the spot on two occasions this term.
Under 2.5 goals in the match @ 10/11
Ajax’s woeful recent form has seen them rattle the onion bag just twice in their last four matches and they have not scored at the Amsterdam Arena for over a month.
They have not adequately replaced attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen, who scored ten goals in the Dutch top flight last term and struck twice in four games for the club this season before his £11.5m transfer to Spurs.
Frank de Boer’s side have only managed to fire home twice in three Group H matches so far, but Celtic have fared no better and their goals against Ajax in Glasgow are all the Hoops have to show for their Champions League endeavours this term.
At just a shade odds-on, under 2.5 goals in this clash looks an absolute steal.