It’s been a while since Celtic advanced from the group stage in the Champions League and the reason for their lack of success is a subpar performance away from home. While everything seems possible when Celtic plays in Glasgow, on the road, they are yet to win a game and this campaign is so far every bit as disappointing as the previous ones. Much to their credit, the Scottish team won the home game against Ajax weeks ago and came painfully close of drawing the match is played with Barcelona and AC Milan.
Tonight they will be traveling to Amsterdam without their captain, as Scott Brown is suspended for this fixture and joins Georgios Samaras and Mikael Lustig on the bench. The two players are yet to shake off injuries and even though they travel to the Netherlands for this match, it is uncertain whether they will be used from the first minute. The same goes for Kris Commons and Beram Kayal who are definitely on the land, but not completely recovered, therefore coach Neil Lennon might use him only the second half.
It is self-evident if the hosts lose the game tonight, they have no chance whatsoever to advance to the next stage as they have earned just one point in three games so far. The last rounds will see them traveling to AC Milan while entertaining Barcelona at Amsterdam arena, in matches that will see the Dutch side starting with the second chance. The good news is that Celtic is among the worst traveling teams in the Champions League and Ajax has an excellent opportunity of collecting all three points.
The visitors are wary of what awaits for them it Amsterdam and will focus mostly on bolstering their defenses, while trying to surprise the hosts on counterattack. The strategy worked brilliantly in the first leg and if Samaras returns to fitness, the visiting team could record a rare victory on the road. Punters would be better off taking any chances tonight especially with the odds for a home victory revolving around even value. This is a do or die situation for Ajax and given the fact that they play at home and have no injury concerns, they should be able to win their first match in Group H.