Brendan Rodgers’ side are looking to complete a fine run of Europa League form by ending the Austrians’ perfect with a win at Parkhead
Celtic will secure a place in the last 32 of the Europa League if they can take a point against Red Bull Salzburg at Parkhead on Thursday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have nine points from their five matches to date, with victories over RB Leipzig and Rosenborg clawing them back into a healthy position after an uncertain start to the campaign.
Their opponents have a perfect record of five wins from five matches, and brushed the Hoops aside 3-1 when they met in Austria in October.
It promises to be no easy task.
|Game||Celtic v RB Salzburg|
|Date||Thursday, December 13|
|Time||8pm GMT/ 3pm ET|
In the United States (US), the game can be stream via Bleacher Report.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 3 and streamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 3||BT Sport Live|
|Goalkeepers||Gordon, Bain, Hazard|
|Defenders||Hendry, Simunovic, Gamboa, Boyata, Benkovic, Lustig, Ajer, Ralston, Tierney, Izaguirre|
|Midfielders||Brown, Sinclair, Hayes, Morgan, Christie, Rogic, Ntcham, Mulumbu, McGregor, Forrest, Eboue, Arzani|
|Forwards||Griffiths, Edouard, Johnston|
Brendan Rodgers will again be faced with an intimidating, long list of injury problems, but he is well used to such concerns now.
Kristoffer Ajer, Dedryck Boyata, Nir Bitton and Eboue Kouassi are all laid up for the Hoops once more.
Scott Brown is set to be left on the bench, with Ryan Christie in impressive form alongside Callum McGregor in the midfield.
Possible Celtic starting XI: Gordon; Lustig, Benkovic, Simunovic, Tierney; Christie, McGregor; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair; Edouard
|Position||RB Salzburg players|
|Goalkeepers||Stankovic, Kohn, Walke, Antosch|
|Defenders||Van der Werff, Onguene, Andre Ramalho, Ulmer, Lainer, Ludewig, Pongracic, Todorovic|
|Midfielders||Haidara, Yabo, Samassekou, WolfJunuzovic, Minamino, Leitgeb, Schlager, Mwepu|
|Forwards||Dabbur, Prevljak, Daka, Gulbrandsen|
Red Bull have already won the group and are, therefore, liable to rotate their starting XI significantly.
Xavier Schlager is missing due to suspension, while fellow midfielders Amadou Haidara and Reinhold Yabo are injured. Defenders Jasper van der Werff and Patrick Farkas are also missing.
Possible Red Bull Salzburg starting XI: Walke; Lainer, Ramalho, Onguene, Ulmer; Samassekou, Mwepu; Junuzovic, Wolf, Daka; Prevljak
Celtic are priced as narrow 8/5 favourites at bet365. RB Salzburg can be backed at 19/10 while a draw is 12/5.
Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
Celtic know their European mettle will be tested on Thursday when they host Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have already proved it to an extent, with gutsy wins against RB Leipzig and Rosenborg, but last season’s semi-finalists in this competition will doubtless prove a step up in class, regardless of the fact that they have already qualified.
“I’d have taken this scenario at the start of the group, absolutely,” the manager explained. “All you can do is have it in your own hands. Thankfully, going into the last game, we have that.
“If we can come through, it would be absolutely brilliant for us. We have faced three good sides in the group – two national champions and a top Leipzig side.
“It would be a great achievement for us and that is the aim – to make it past Christmas.
“I said to the players at the start if they got 10 points, they would come close. If you don’t get through with 10, you’d be very unlucky. We have a chance to finish with 10 or 12, and that would be great.”
Since their 1-0 win over Rosenborg, they have claimed League Cup glory thanks to a 1-0 win over Aberdeen, suffered a setback in the league having been held 1-1 at Motherwell, then laid a spectacular marker down by thumping former leaders Kilmarnock 5-1 at the weekend.
It is the form they showed against Killie that he expects they will need to show again on Thursday, as he does not expect Salzburg to take things easy.
“They see Europe as an opportunity beyond their domestic league to show their qualities,” he said.
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“For some of the young players it is the opportunity to do that. They are a good team – well structured, good speed, youth and experience in there.”
Salzburg suffered a rare setback at the weekend as they were held 2-2 by Admira Wacker in the Austrian Bundesliga – the last time they failed to win in consecutive matches was in April, emphasising the task at hand for Celtic.