Saturday, July 24, 2021

Prediction: Celtic vs KR Reykjavik

Verdict: Celtic to win by 2+ goals and Odsonne Edouard to score anytime

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Unibet

Starting off their Champions League qualifying campaign on Tuesday night, Celtic will welcome KR Reykjavik to Glasgow for a one-off meeting in midweek.

Celtic

Starting with the hosts, after missing a pair of Premiership fixtures due to off-field issues, Celtic should be raring to go after being last seen settling for a point away at Kilmarnock eight days ago. With their Old Firm rivals already building a six-point buffer over them, the defending Scottish champions will undoubtedly be glad to make a return to home soil on Tuesday night. Despite their disappointing draw away at Rugby Park earlier in the month, Neil Lennon’s men did open up the 2020/2021 domestic campaign with a 5-1 romp against Hamilton in Glasgow. Unsurprisingly seen as a real landslide pick to extend on their Champions League adventure in midweek, there is no doubt that Lennon will be calling on leading marksman and attacking talisman Odsonne Edouard to lead their charge at Celtic Park. Opening up the new campaign with a hat-trick against Hamilton on August 2nd, last year’s Scottish Golden Boot winner has also found the net in his last three consecutive European appearances on home soil.

Team News

Neil Lennon has confirmed that new signing Albian Ajeti will be in the squad on Tuesday night after making the move from West Ham last week. However, last year’s Golden Boot winner Odsonne Edouard will start up top and likely have Ryan Christie in support.

Also making the move to Glasgow earlier in the month, Vasilios Barkas looks set to start between the sticks in midweek.

KR Reykjavik

As for the visitors, despite managing to book their first-ever spot in the Champions League qualifiers after clinching their 27th Úrvalsdeild crown last year, the Iceland outfit marked their return from the enforced break in worrying fashion. After a brief interruption to the new campaign due to coronavirus cases, Rúnar Kristinsson’s men were hit with a shock 2-1 defeat at home against Hafnarfjordur and couldn’t have wished for a worse preparation ahead of their midweek European showdown. In fact, failing to win any of their last three domestic appearances on the bounce, it should also be noted that Reykjavik have been hit with back-to-back European losses on their travels. When last seen in the Europa League back in December, they were hit with a 7-1 drumming against Molde. In for what should be an overwhelming step up in class when they make the trip to Glasgow on Tuesday night, Reykjavik should also be concerned by their most recent meeting against the Scottish champions. When the two sides faced off on European duties back in 2014, the midweek guests were hit with a 5-0 hammering against then-boss Ronny Deila’s side.

Team News

Along with restarting the new campaign in worrying fashion, KR Reykjavik have not have been helped by the news that both Kristinn Jonsson and Kristjan Floka Finnbogason look set to miss out after limping off over the weekend.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Celtic have played three ties with Icelandic sides over the years, winning all six matches by an aggregate score of 20-1.
  • Odsonne Edouard scored a hat-trick in his last appearance at Celtic Park and has found the net in his last three consecutive European matchups on home soil.
  • Six of Celtic’s last seven Champions League appearances at any stage have seen over 2.5 goals by full-time.
  • KR Reykjavik have conceded 10 goals in their last two European appearances on the road.
  • Celtic met Reykjavik in 2014, Ronny Deila’s first matches as manager of the Glasgow side, and won the Champions League qualifier 5-0 on aggregate.

Conclusion

While Celtic’s preparations and schedule might have been hindered by off-field issues over the past week and a half, there is no doubt that Neil Lennon’s men should be confident of making a statement on their return to action. Glad to be heading back to Glasgow after dropping points away at Rugby Park last time out, the Hoops should have far too much firepower for their Icelandic opponents on Tuesday night. Picking up a 5-0 romp the last time they faced off against Reykjavik back in 2014 and with Odsonne Edouard opening the new campaign with a hat-trick against Hamilton, we’re backing another fruitful night for the Scottish champions.

Verdict: Celtic to win by 2+ goals and Odsonne Edouard to score anytime

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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