Having done really well to trouble Barcelona at Camp Nou, Spartak Moscow are hoping to build on that showing and improve their qualifying chances with a win over Celtic. The Bhoys could only muster a goalless draw at home against Benfica, meaning they now have got to try and get something from this match despite their European travel sickness.
Excellent performance at Camp Nou
Spartak Moscow have been investing a lot of money and effort to return to old glory days and they certainly appear to be on the right track. The second-place finish in Russian Premier League last term proved the Meat are on the way to become one of Russia’s top sides. The club officials did well to bring the likes of Unai Emery, Romulo, Kim Kallstrom, Juan Insaurralde and Jurado in the summer transfer window, and they now boast a really strong side. Spartak proved their worth by not only eliminating Fenerbahce, but also playing a great game against Barcelona at Camp Nou, and it was that showing that gave the team a great confidence boost and saw them win next three games in all competitions. With the players high on confidence at the moment, Spartak will surely be able to see off Celtic, a team that rarely bring points from European travels.
First choice keeper Andriy Dikan and important midfielder Romulo are both unavailable, but Unai Emery has big enough squad to cope.
Still no cure for travel sickness
With their arch rivals Rangers relegated to the Third Division, Celtic should be able to make a decent run in the Champions League over the next few years, but making it to the knockout stages could remain just a dream for the Bhoys. Boosted by the amazing support from the stands, the Scottish giants managed to hold very good Benfica side to a goalless draw, but matching Spartak Moscow away from home is likely to prove mission impossible. Before this season’s triumphs over HJK and Helsingborg, Celtic had recorded just one win and two draws in the previous 22 Champions League clashes away from home, which clearly suggests the Bhoys are a different team when they leave the comfort of Celtic Park. Despite the good run in the Scottish Premier League, I seriously doubt they can get something from this game.
Gerogios Samaras is back in contention, while Adam Matthews is the only injury doubt at the moment.
Spartak Moscow appear to be on top of their game at the moment, and having played so well against European giants Fenerbahce and Barcelona, they can be trusted to beat Celtic at home. The Bhoys may be doing well in the SPL, but they will need to improve the quality of the squad a great deal if they ever want to be competitive on European travels.
Our prediction: Spartak with -1 Asian handicap
Odds: 2.00 (1/1)