Celtic’s hopes of a Champions League berth hang by a thread as the Scots seek to come from behind and oust Dynamo Moscow in tomorrow’s second-leg match.
Celtic qualified for last season’s competition proper as champions, but having finished runners-up in the league to Rangers, they had to go through the qualifiers and a 1-0 home first-leg loss sees the Hoops fighting for survival.
Tony Mowbray’s side will need no reminding how Rangers suffered the ignominy — and accompanying financial heartache — of a qualifying exit last season to Lithuania’s Kaunas, but Mowbray says his men can turn things around.
“It’s not a game we should fear, and we should go there and understand that we can give them plenty of problems,” Mowbray told the club’s Web site.
While Scott Brown will be available after injury, Barry Robson will not make the date in the Russian capital owing to a thigh strain.
As Celtic try to repair the damage, a raft of other hopefuls will be anxious to take a step closer to the lucrative group phase.
Former England boss Steve McClaren’s FC Twente will be out to complete the job after a goalless stalemate away at Sporting in Lisbon.
McClaren’s team will go into the return contest buoyed by Saturday’s opening league success at Sparta Rotterdam.
Elsewhere, experienced Greek campaigners Olympiakos will seek to build on a 2-0 away success at Slovan Bratislava, while in a Scandinavian derby, FC Copenhagen of Denmark will try to ensure they do not surrender a 3-1 first-leg victory when they travel to Norway’s Stabaek.
Belgium’s Anderlecht are as good as through after a 5-0 thrashing of Turkey’s Sivasspor, but Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine have to go for the jugular after they were held 2-2 at home by Romania’s FC Timisoara.
Czech fans will be hoping for a double as Sparta Prague bid to preserve a 3-1 lead against Greek outfit Panathinaikos, while Slavia Prague ought to finish the job against Moldova’s Sheriff, having held their rivals goalless away from home.
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