Charlie Nicholas’ prediction for Thursday night may surprise some Celtic fans, as he predicts us to overcome Lazio.
The Sky Sports pundit is hugely unpopular in the Celtic supporters’ books due to his regular negativity towards the club. He recently hit the headlines after bizarrely claiming that he didn’t like Odsonne Edouard’s lack of enthusiasm when he scores (Daily Express, 24/09, page 61).
However, you can occasionally get a bit of common sense from him when it comes to his score predictions. The former Celtic and Arsenal striker regularly predicts each British club’s score for their European games.
And, speaking on Sky Sports’ website about this week’s fixtures, he was complementary towards Celtic and Edouard.
“It is a cracking game. Lazio are not one of the top names in terms of the Italian teams now and Celtic Park relishes these on European nights. Lazio are seventh in the Serie A but are tough defensively.
“Odsonne Edouard enjoys these types of games, so he will want to play well and show his credentials. Lazio are well organised and are great on the counter-attack.
“The crowd are something else on these nights so I think Celtic could just nick it.”
Any win will do Celtic
It’s not a night where the performance overly-matters. If Celtic get the win against the Serie A heavyweights, nobody will care how they performed.
And that’s because three points would take us to a grand total of seven for the group so far. In other words, it would be a colossal start to the group stage for Celtic come the halfway mark. It would also likely stretch their lead over second place too, unless Cluj overcome Rennes.
It would make Celtic look like the overwhelming favourites to take top spot in the group. More importantly, however, it would likely leave us one win away from qualifying for the last 32.
That’s the least Neil Lennon will want from this current stage of the competition. There’s real expectation from Celtic to get over the line here, as they’ve proven they can deal with the quality they’re up against.
Lazio is a fresh challenge, but Celtic can’t be overawed by names such as Ciro Immobile. We’re in this competition and top of the group stage on merit.
Many supporters, for once, will be backing Nicholas’ prediction. Here’s hoping that, on a rare occasion, he manages to be right about something.