Celtic vs Sparta Prague
Time- UK: 08.00 pm (Thursday), India: 1.30 am (Friday)
Venue: Celtic Park
Europa League is set to continue for the third successive week and both Celtic and Rangers will be in action on Thursday.
Compared to their Glasgow rivals, Celtic have been drawn in a comparatively tougher group alongside Italian giants AC Milan and French outfit Lille.
In the two matches Celtic have played so far, the Bhoys have drawn one and lost one. The opening day fixture against AC Milan ended in a 3-1 defeat at Celtic Park, while the one against Lille in France saw the Hoops concede a two-goal advantage to end the match in a 2-2 draw.
On Matchday 03, the Scottish champions will be up against Czech side Sparta Prague, who are also winless in the Europa League so far.
So, will Neil Lennon’s men be able to put their best foot forward and manage to register their first win in the continental competition?
Celtic vs Sparta Prague: Recent form
Sparta Prague: L-L-W-W-W
In spite of Celtic not managing to win a match in the Europa League so far, they have shown hints of form in recent games, winning the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen 2-0 on Saturday.
But their last league match against the same opponents resulted in a 3-3 draw, with Aberdeen converting their second penalty in the 92nd minute.
On the other hand, Sparta Prague have complained about the lack of football domestically, with the club sending a letter to the Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis to restart football as soon as possible. Owing to the pandemic, no football has taken place in the country since the start of October.
Their last match, therefore, was in the Europa League against AC Milan away from home – a contest which they lost 3-0.
Celtic vs Sparta Prague: Head-to-head
The two sides will meet each other in a competitive match for the first time. There have been two previous meetings between Celtic and Sparta Prague – both friendly games. The first one in 2015 ended in a 3-2 win for the Czech side, while the Scottish champions won the second one 1-0.
Celtic vs Sparta Prague: Team news
The home side have two key first-teamers – James Forrest and Kristoffer Ajer – missing the crunch tie through injury. While Forrest is recovering from an ankle injury, Ajer is recuperating from a groin problem.
Apart from that, there is no fresh injury worry for Neil Lennon as he hopes to field his strongest available side against Sparta Prague in order to get the all-important win.
The visiting side have more reasons to worry as compared to their Scottish opponents. In addition to no domestic action, they are also riddled with injuries. Defenders Lukas Stetina and Dominik Plechaty along with young winger Adam Hloze will miss the game in Scotland.
Celtic vs Sporting Prague: predicted line-up
Celtic predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Scott Bain; Diego Laxalt, Nir Bitton, Shane Duffy, Jeremie Frimpong; Callum McGregor, Scott Brown; Mohamed Elyounoussi, Olivier Ntcham, Ryan Christie; Odsonne Edouard
Sporting Prague predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Milan Heca; Matej Hanousek, David Lischka, Ondrej Celustka, Michal Sacek; David Pavelka, Michal Travnik; Ladislav Krejci, Bork Dockal, Andreas Vindheim; Lukas Julis
Celtic vs Sparta Prague: Where to watch
The match will be shown live on BT Sport 3 just after the end of the Rangers match. It can also be watched on the BT Sport app.
Celtic vs Sparta Prague: Prediction
Celtic have been in the thick of things, playing as many as four games in the space of ten days. Heading into the match against the Czech side – who lack match-fitness because of the suspension of their domestic season – the Bhoys will be confident of earning a victory.
A win will also put the Hoops back on track in the race to qualify to the knockout stages. Given the kind of group they have been drawn in, it could be a huge achievement.
Celtic vs Sparta Prague predicted scoreline: 2-0