Europa League Group A: Celtic seek salvaging Ajax victory
Lee Gormley | November 25th, 2015
Celtic v Ajax
- Europa League Group A
- Thursday, November 26th
- Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
- Celtic Park, Glasgow
- Live on BT Sport 2
Hoops hold hope in Ajax encounter
After a woeful Europa League campaign so far, Celtic welcome Group A rivals Ajax to Parkhead for a must-win encounter in Glasgow, having dropped to rock-bottom of their standings, as they fight to keep their European hopes alive.
Back-to-back defeats to already-qualified Norwegian side Molde have left the Bhoys’ chances hanging in the balance, and potentially Ronny Deila’s job too, as he prepares his reigning Scottish Premiership champions for the arrival of the Eredivisie leaders.
The stuttering Hoops have got their domestic season back on track, but a defeat to their Dutch opponents on home soil could see them exit the competition, and the hosts are 6/4 with Coral to triumph in what would be only their third home win in seven outings across all competitions.
Deila’s Dutch danger
Despite Frank De Boer’s visiting Dutch outfit sitting pretty at the summit of their country’s top-flight division, Deila can take some hope from the away form of their opponents, as Ajax have won just two of their previous six travelling games.
Although, the Amsterdam club are 9/5 to end Celtic’s Europa League ventures with a victory in Glasgow, a result which could ultimately cost Deila his job at Parkhead.
Rogic rallies Hoops troops
Hoops midfielder Tom Rogic has called for his teammates to simply believe in their ability ahead of this decisive match-up though, as a victory here as well as a win over current second-placed Fenerbahce in their final fixture would see them reach the next stage.
“We have to have the belief that we can win and still go through in the group,” stated the 22-year-old Australian. “We go into every game thinking we are going to get a positive result, especially at home.
“It’s a big opportunity. Obviously we’re disappointed about the last couple of results but we’ve been working hard to make sure we are best prepared as we can be to get the result we need.
“We know the importance of the match. We’re all in this together and are a united squad.
“We work closely and extremely hard with the coaches and the manager, so we’re working together to get the result we need.”
Bhoys dealt Brown blow
Deila will be without two key members of his ranks through suspension, with Nir Bitton and Stefan Johansen both missing out, as Kris Commons is also a doubt through injury. Though skipper Scott Brown is a massive absence, after the Scot was ruled out for up to 12 weeks with a knee injury, while Carlton Cole is not yet fit enough to play.
In-form Scotland international Leigh Griffiths is Celtic’s constant source of goals this season, and he is 6/4 to continue his rampant run with another strike anytime, with Gary Mackay-Steven 2/1 to get on the scoresheet.
Ajax possess plenty of attacking danger on their travels, as they look to edge out Fenerbahce for second spot, with reported Premier League target Arkadiusz Milik 6/1 to score last and highly-rated Viktor Fischer 2/1 to dispatch anytime.
Celtic will have to overturn their dreadful run of form in this competition in order to salvage their swiftly fading European hopes but, in front of a rapturous home crowd, the Bhoys could yet enjoy another memorable night at Parkhead.
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