CELTIC are eight games away from the Champions League but should overcome the first hurdle tonight.
Brendan Rodgers's side kick off their marathon bid to make the groups with a long trek to Armenia to face an Alashkert side who knocked out St Johnstone three years ago.
There will be no double Scotch for the minnows though with Rodgers well aware of what's required to negotiate these stages and is concerned about the searing heat.
Three words will guard him against complacency though – Lincoln Red Imps. The Gibraltar side caught his side cold a couple of years ago and Rodgers won't allow that to happen again.
His first-choice side prepared well by battering Shamrock Rovers on Saturday and the manager has been waxing lyrically about the condition of stars such as Moussa Dembele, Scott Sinclair and Odsonne Edouard.
Celtic are a best 1-3 at McBookie to win tonight and no price at all to qualify (you're talking about 1-33).
Rodgers looks set to go with Dembele and Edouard up top and maybe he thinks the best form of defence is attack with Mikael Lustig and Dedryck Boyata missing. Leigh Griffiths is also injured and Tom Rogic is still on a break after playing for Australia at the World Cup.
French stars Dembele and Edouard on target in Ireland and to score first both are 11-4 at William Hill.
Sinclair is 5-1 and if you want a bit more value take Callum McGregor at 15-2 as he may be lower down Alashkert's radar and has netted some big goals for the club.
If they're physically ready and handle the heat Celtic should win this with plenty to spare. Celtic -1 pays 11-10 at betfair and -2 is 11-4 with McBookie.
I'd back both confidently if it was further into the campaign but Celtic may just be keen to get any win and return to Parkhead with no damage done.
Even without their World Cup stars Celtic to win to nil should happen at 10-11 with William Hill.
Recommended Bets (5pm)
- Celtic -1
- Celtic to win to nil
- Dembele to score first