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Why the Europa League should mean everything to Celtic

| 02.10.2014

Despite currently sitting in fourth place in the Scottish Premiership, five points behind leaders Dundee United with a game in hand, Celtic will justify 1/25 odds and top the pile north of the border for the fourth successive season this term.

However, whether or not the Glasgow giants are progressing under new coach Ronny Deila will only be measured through the Europa League, which the Norwegian’s side are a much healthier 100/1 to claim for the first time in any of the tournament’s various incarnations.

After failing to land a continental trinket since the famous Lisbon Lions’ 1967 capture of the European Cup, a decent run from Deila’s side in the Champions League consolation prize may be what’s required to blow off the cobwebs at Parkhead.

Scottish sides have a smart record in this competition over the past decade or so, with both the Bhoys and Old Firm rivals Rangers making the final since 2003, although neither managed to get their hands on the trophy.

Furthermore, Celtic consistently outperformed their odds in the Champions League over the past few seasons.

Ex-gaffer Neil Lennon led the club he had previously skippered into the last 16 of Europe’s top tourny for the first time in five years back in 2012, thanks to wins against Spartak Moscow (twice) and Barcelona at the group stage.

Having come through what looked on paper to be their toughest Group D fixture away to Red Bull Salzburg, the 3/4 favourites to top the pile, with a creditable 2-2 draw in Austria, Celtic could take a huge step towards qualification by landing 23/20 win odds at home to Dinamo Zagreb.

Deila’s side are 10/3 third-favourites to finish first in their mini-league, behind Red Bull and 11/4 shots Dinamo, but miles ahead of Romanian also-rans Astra Giurgiu at 20s.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune