Sparta Prague vs CelticUEFA Europa League, KO: 17:55 Nov 26, 2020, Letná Stadium
THE pressure is intensifying on Neil Lennon and he badly needs a result at Sparta Prague to salvage not only Celtic's Europa League campaign but also his own job prospects.
Many Hoops fans have lost patience with the manager and his under-performing team after a 2-2 weekend draw at Hibs left the champions 11 points adrift of Rangers in their chase for a record 10th successive championship.
Celtic are also rock bottom of their Europa League group after a disastrous 4-1 defeat (below) at home to a Sparta side without several of their big hitters due to injury and off-field issues.
Factor in an early exit from the Champions League qualifiers at home to Ferencvaros and it's easy to see why many supporters are calling for Lennon to be axed, although the board appear to be standing by him.
With two games in hand in the Premiership, the Hoops still have a chance to spark their title challenge back to life but they need to hit form soon, so Lennon will be demanding a victory here as he looks to start building some momentum.
He can take some solace from his side's excellent away record in Europe, with a loss at Cluj in a dead rubber last season their only defeat on the road in the last two campaigns.
Sparta showed at Parkhead how dangerous they can be but the Czechs have been in poor form since then, losing to Viktoria Plzen and Budejovice and shipping seven goals across those two games.
They have lost four of their last five in all competitions so the Hoops could be getting them at a good time as they bid to exact revenge for their Parkhead humiliation.
How the bookies view it
Sparta Prague are 6/4 with McBookie which will attract plenty of interest on the back of what happened when these sides last faced off. The Hoops are 17/10 for a morale-boosting win while the stalemate pays 5/2.
Celtic remain without wingers James Forrest and Mikey Johnston while midfielder David Turnbull is also out. But defender Christopher Jullien is closing in on a return after his back injury and could make the bench.
Sparta Prague still have a few players missing with injury as David Hancko, Ondrej Celustka, Lukas Stetina, Michal Sacek and Adam Hlozek all look set to miss out.
Players to watch
I tipped Odsonne Edouard to score for the Hoops against Hibs at the weekend and he delivered, despite only making a cameo off the bench. That sparked a comeback from 2-0 down and Celtic looked a much better team with the Frenchman (below) up top so it would be a huge surprise if he didn't start here and Edouard is 17/10 for a goal with BetVictor.
Lukas Julis scored a hat-trick at Parkhead and will be rubbing his hands at the prospect of facing Celtic's dodgy defence again. The 25-year-old is 21/10 with 888Sport for another goal here and that seems overpriced.
Anything else catch the eye?
It has also trapped in each of their Europa League group games so it looks a logical choice here at 6/10 with William Hill. That's not great value to double it with a goal in each half to boost the odds to 167/100.
A draw is no use to the Hoops so it should be an open game as they go for it and leave spaces at the back. Over 2.5 goals doesn't offer great value at a best 8/11 with BetVictor but is OK for accas while the odds increase to 15/8 for over 3.5 goals.
This UEFA Europa League match between Sparta Prague and Celtic will be played on Nov 26, 2020 and kick off at 17:55. Check below for our tipsters best Sparta Prague vs Celtic prediction.