Celtic hope to win their first ever away match in the Champions League group stages tonight as they face Spartak Moscow in Russia.
Neil Lennon’s side drew their opening game with Benfica at Celtic Park, without getting a single shot on target, while Spartak ran giants Barcelona close as they lost 3-2 in their opening match. As Celtic have such an impressive home record, they would certainly have been disappointed to not come away with three points – meaning qualification from the group will be tough.
Celtic had no such problems in the qualifying stages. They won both their away ties 2-0 against HJK Helsinki and Helsingborgs IF respectively. This gives Neil Lennon some confidence going into tonight’s match.
“We played well in Helsinki and Helsingborgs and it’s given us a lot to be encouraged about,” said Lennon. “It’s our first foray away in the Champions League group stages and we want to give a good account of ourselves and make the game as competitive as we can.”
There will be a familiar face in the Spartak Moscow side, with ex-Celt Aiden McGeady wearing the red of the Russian club. The 26-year-old left his boyhood heroes in 2010 after making over 250 appearances and scoring 37 goals.
There is good news for Neil Lennon with regards to his own team and Spartak Moscow’s. The strength of his side was boosted after Georgios Samaras came on in their win against Motherwell on Saturday.
More good news for Lennon was that Spartak Moscow’s first-choice goalkeeper, Andriy Dykan is ruled out of the game. Spartak already have several key players out with injuries, including captain Sergei Parshivlyuk, Brazil international midfielder Romulo and leading striker Welliton.
Celtic have only won one of their last 10 Champions League matches, while Spartak Moscow have one win from 14 home ties in the competition.