Postecoglou Set For Perfect Celtic Start

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New Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou gets his first taste of competitive action with the Parkhead outfit on Tuesday evening.

Ange Postecoglou

The second qualifying round of the Champions League begins on Tuesday with some big names hoping to earn a place in the next round.

Played over two legs, the winners will advance through to the third round where they would be two ties away from a place in the group stages.

The losers meanwhile would drop into the Europa League qualification phase so there is certainly plenty to play for.

Celtic to Be Too Strong for Midtjylland

New Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is getting ready to take charge of his first competitive game since his surprise appointment.

After Eddie Howe turned down the role following protracted talks, the Bhoys decided to look at the 55-year-old Australian, who was managing at the time in Japan.

He is certainly a leftfield choice but this fixture against Midtjylland might prove to be a gentle way of bedding him into life at Celtic Park.

Even though they struggled last season and lost their grip of the Scottish Premiership title, Celtic’s home form was still very good, losing just twice in the league all season.

By contrast, Midtjylland’s away form has been a cause for concern – they haven’t won in their last four away games and began the Danish Superliga season with a home loss against Odense Boldklub.

Everything appears to be favouring Celtic, who can be backed at 20/21 to win and get the Postecoglou era off to a perfect start.

In Form Malmo Set for First Leg Win

The reward for either Malmo or HJK Helsinki for winning their tie will be a match up against Scottish champions Rangers in the third qualifying round.

The Swedish side enter this game in excellent form, particularly at home, where they have won each of their last four, scoring nine goals without reply.

That sees them sit at the summit of the Swedish Allsvenskan as they seek to earn a place in the group stage for the first time since 2015.

HJK Helsinki don’t have the same pedigree, only qualifying for one major competition group stage this century – the 2014-15 Europa League.

They sit top of the Veikkausliiga having lost just one from 12 but Malmo will prove to have too much quality and experience for them at this level.

Malmo can be backed at 5/13 to win the first leg.

Olympiakos Set to Dominate Baku

Greek champions Olympiakos are used to dominating at domestic level and can bring that confidence to these early Champions League qualifying rounds.

Pedro Martins’ side won the title last season to make it two in a row, and 21 since 1997.

Olympiakos have battled their way through to the group stages in each of the last three seasons and have generally acquitted themselves well.

On each occasion, they finished third and subsequently dropped into the Europa League, where they reached the last 16 in 2020.

Their opponents Neftchi Baku have no such pedigree and have only ever advanced to the group stage of a major European competition once – the 2012-13 Europa League.

Olympiakos can be backed at 20/33 to win to nil in the first leg tie.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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