AC Milan vs CelticUEFA Europa League, KO: 17:55 Dec 3, 2020, San Siro
NEIL Lennon is fighting for his future but the under-fire Parkhead manager is set to lead Celtic into their Europa League clash with AC Milan on Thursday evening.
Hundreds of fans gathered outside Celtic Park following Sunday's shock 2-0 Scottish League Cup defeat to Ross County, however, Lennon appears to have been granted a stay of execution by the Hoops hierarchy.
There were murmurs of discontent in Glasgow's east end after an under-strength Sparta Prague side savaged Celtic 4-1 at Parkhead, and the pressure intensified after another 4-1 thumping in the reverse fixture last Thursday, on an evening where all three of Kevin Mac's bets clicked.
Consequently, the Scottish champions have crashed out of Europe's secondary club competition with two games to spare and the Bhoys now face a daunting trip to the San Siro to take on a resurgent AC Milan side.
Stefano Pioli's men are unbeaten in Italy's top-flight since February and enter this showdown with out-of-sorts Celtic occupying top spot in the Serie A standings.
Having said that, the Rossoneri still have work to do in Europa League Group H where just one point separates the two top-three sides in the section, however, the Italian giants can take a huge stride towards qualification should they overcome the Hoops on Thursday evening.
AC Milan have won each of their last four fixtures with Celtic and the bookmakers expect that sequence to continue with a home win odds-on at 1/3 with Bet 365.
It's now just two wins in 10 for Celtic and the Bhoys are big outsiders here at 7/1 with Bet 365, while a point apiece is priced up 17/5 with the same firm.
Celtic's troubled season can be attributed to their defensive deficiencies – Lennon's leaky backline have recorded just a solitary shutout across their last nine assignments.
Such defensive frailty does not bode well ahead of a tussle with an AC Milan team who have scored two or more goals in each of their nine Serie A outings so far.
Indeed, Milan will be without influential striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Thursday evening, however, I suspect the San Siro side will have enough in reserve to put confidence-stricken Celtic to the sword.
However, there is little value backing the men from Milan to make the net bulge at least twice at a general 1/3, so I'm going to head to the Bet 356 Bet builder to beef up the price.
The even-money combination that I like the look of is over one AC Milan goal and over one Celtic card, a Bet Builder that landed for me on Matchday Two when Sparta Prague were swatted aside at the San Siro.
What's more, the above-mentioned Bet Builder banked in the reverse fixture and given that Milan are in must-win territory on Thursday evening, coupled with the likelihood of Lennon's men being out to prove a point, I'm more than happy to have a play on the above-mentioned betting angle.
I'll also dip into the player card market and take the 8/5 on offer with William Hill for Celtic midfielder Scott Brown to get booked.
The Celtic skipper has already clocked up seven cards this season – he is as short as 8/13 for a caution elsewhere – and I fancy Brown to add to that tally on an evening where AC Milan are expected to dominate the ball for long stages at the San Siro.
This UEFA Europa League match between AC Milan and Celtic will be played on Dec 3, 2020 and kick off at 17:55. Check below for our tipsters best AC Milan vs Celtic prediction.