Quarabag is not a well-known name amongst European football fans, however, with a trip to the Caucasus Celtic chances an unpleasant surprise. As Celtic are considered as firm favourites before the first leg, they should try to build as big an advantage as possible to ensure themselves a relaxed week before the reverse fixture. Celtic to beat Quarabag is priced at 1.44 (4/9) by Bet365.
Draw is available at 4.20 (16/5) while the Azeris are 7.50 (13/2) underdogs at the same online betting destination. Celtic are 1.33 (1/3) favourites to advance while a Quarabag aggregate victory is offered with odds of 3.25 (9/4). Celtic with a -1 handicap is priced at 2.30 (13/10) by Bet365, and the Bhoys’ half time/full time success pays at 2.20 (6/5). Celtic chances to beat Quarabag by two goals is a fancy option, available at 4.33 (10/3).
Norwegian boss Ronny Deila expressed that the best European performance is needed from Celtic to beat Quarabag. The Celts are facing the Azeri side in the third round of the UEFA Champions League qualifiers. Deila insists that Celtic will need their best form to reach the play-off round against the tricky opposition from Baku.
The Bhoys showed their best European displays most recently against Internazionale in the knockout phase of the Champions League earlier this year, as many of those who follow live sports results might remember. Deila thinks that Celtic chances a nasty blunder if they don’t perform on that level against the Azeri champions.
He said, “When you get bigger tasks you step it up and the players will do that. So we need to be at our Inter Milan level. Qarabag are a very good team. They beat Twente Enschede in the Europa League qualifiers and did well in the group. It’s a difficult draw but you can’t think like that and we have to take what is coming in front of us. We know we are good enough. But we have to be at our best and at least we are at home first. That will be an important game.”
Celtic midfielder Stefan Johansen has some experience of Azeri football. He met the Azerbaijan national football team twice while playing for Norway, as Scandinavian experts of gambling facts might remember. He recalls the outings as tough matches, however he expects Celtic to beat Quarabag in the first leg of their respective Champions League qualifier.
The 26-year-old said, “Qarabag have a few Brazilians and a Spanish guy and it’s difficult to say what they’ll be like because I haven’t seen enough of them. But their national team played with fight, they played hard. It’s never easy to go there. The national team played very physically and it was a tough game for us but I think we can get a good result.”
He pointed out that Baku will be a tricky venue to play. Celtic chances are good, but it won’t be smooth. He expressed, “It’s always tough, especially in Europe, to go away and play, but I’m confident we can go there and get a good result. Home is where we need to build the result. We had a 2-0 win to go away with last week to Stjarnan and you always know if you get the away goal then it’s more or less secure.”
Ronny Deila said that the prestige of reaching the group stages of the Champions League is far more important for him and his players than the GBP 20 million it would bring to Celtic. The Norwegian manager would like to use the benefits of reaching the group stage to cement the Hoops’ place in sports scores news as Champions League regulars.
Deila said, “It is the same as with the players – you don’t get money out of thinking always about money. You have to love the game and you have to love to train, and then the money will come. This is what I say to my players. If you want to think always about wanting to be rich, you won’t get it. You have to be the best in something – and that is how it is in football.”
Discussing Celtic chances he added, “It is about what happens on the pitch, it is about everything. The money is nothing compared with the experience – but when you do well everything gets higher. So yes, the prestige is more priceless than the money – but there are positives in the second one, as well. It helps the club get more secure and we can build even more.”