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Europa League Group A: Bhoys battle Molde to keep hopes alive

Lee Gormley | November 4, 2015

Celtic v Molde

  • Europa League
  • Thursday, November 5th
  • Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
  • Celtic Park, Glasgow
  • Live on BT Sport 1

Bhoys battle to keep European hopes alive

Ronny Deila’s Celtic will have to overcome a Molde side currently sitting sixth the Norwegian top tier in order to keep their Europa League hopes alive, with the Hoops hoping to secure their maiden Group A victory at Parkhead.

Soccer - Scottish Premiership - Celtic v Inverness Caledonian Thistle - Celtic Park

The Bhoys have got their domestic campaign back on track this season, with a recent comfortable triumph over Scottish Premier League rivals Aberdeen seeing them take a six-point lead at the summit, having not lost a home game since March this year.

Although, European struggles are now in need of a revival, with Deila’s Scottish champions having suffered a loss and been held to two draws so far in Group A, but they are 9/5 with Coral to overcome Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Molde without conceding.

Hoops hope for Molde revenge

Celtic’s European nightmare was worsened in their previous defeat to their latest opponents, with Molde having rallied to a shock 3-1 win on home soil to leave Deila picking up the pieces of another Europa League downfall.

The Norwegian coach will hope to avoid further misery in Glasgow, though Molde are 9/2 to stun the hosts again, while the Bhoys’ top marksman this season Leigh Griffiths is confident of getting back on track with help from their rapturous home support.

Soccer - UEFA Europa League - Group A - Celtic v Fenerbahce - Celtic Park

“The Aberdeen game is forgotten about already and we look forward to Thursday,” said the Scotland international striker, who is 5/1 for a brace or more after his double against Aberdeen.

Griffiths gets goals

“It is going to be a massive game and we need to win it to keep ourselves in the group. The team is playing with a lot of confidence just now.

“Hopefully we will get the fans behind us on Thursday night and make it an intimidating atmosphere for Molde. We know they are a good side but if we play at our best we know we are capable of winning the game.”

Griffiths headed in the opener against Aberdeen last time out before dispatching a second-half penalty, with James Forrest clinically slotted home too, and the in-form Scot is 4/1 to open proceedings once again.

Tierney targets progression

Celtic currently sit five points behind Molde in their standings, and a defeat to their Norwegian opposition could ultimately spell disaster for the Bhoys’ European exploits, but defender Kieran Tierney is still aiming for progression.

Soccer - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Celtic v Aberdeen - Celtic Park

“Losing in Norway was a hard one to take but we’ve had three games since then and we have bounced back very well,” said Tierney.

“We are just hoping to get back at them on Thursday. This is an important one and we need to get a good result.

“We can still go through.”

“The Europa League group is only at the halfway stage and we have a long way to go and we believe we can still go through.

“Molde are a good team and they know how they’re going to play and they do that very well. But if we play really well then I believe we can beat them.”

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Cardiff City v Norwich City - Cardiff City Stadium

Norway international forward Ola Kamara opened the scoring in the previous encounter in his homeland and could cause Celtic huge problems again, with Molde marksman 2/1 to strike anytime in his latest appearance.

Solskjaer’s side will secure their progression to the last 32 of the competition if they are victorious in Glasgow and Ajax fail to beat Fenerbahce. Midfielder Daniel Berg Hestad is set to retire upon the end of the Europa League campaign, with the 40-year-old being the oldest player registered in the group stage.

Although, Deila’s hosts will look to spoil a possible early retirement party in their own backyard and revive any hopes of progressing themselves.

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Coral’s top tip: Leigh Griffiths struck a double against Aberdeen in his last domestic outing so back him for another brace or more @ 5/1