Celtic - Dinamo Moskva

After few dominating seasons in domain frames, Celtic failed to win the title and changes were unavoidable. Gordon Strachan left the club and new boss is talented Tony Mowbray (ex West Bromwich Albion). Team played four friendly games as the preparation for the new season and the start looks more than encouraging. One draw, against Cardiff 0-0 and three wins 3-0 Brisbane Roar FC, 5-0 Al Ahly and the most impressive win on Wembley Cup against Tottenham 2-0 (with mixed team). Celtic play attacking football and it’s the main reason why Mowbray got his chance. Team has a lots of experience playing in European competitions and they’re the owner of one very specific record, just one European defeat (Barcelona) from last 35 games at Celtic Park! After the collapse of the TV channel, financial crisis threats to Scottish football and qualification for the Champions League is absolutely vital for the hosts. Two very important players, midfielders Scott Brown and Barry Robson are in doubt. But, it seems more like a mind-game, both passed the last training and they’re expected in the team. Defender (and skipper) Stephen McManus will miss the start of the season. All others are available to boss Mowbray. Stadium is sold out and the lads will have a huge support from the crowd.

Dinamo is one of the Russian giants, team with the rich history. In the previous season, they reached the third place (behind Rubin and CSKA) and got the chance to fight for Champions League group stage. This will be the first time that the club has taken part in the competition since its re-branding from the European Cup in 1992.. And the lack of experience playing in Europe will be the additional problem for the visitors. The biggest advantage is they’re in full competition shape. Dinamo played the half games in Russian league, while Scottish starts at August 15th. After 15 games played in domain competition, Dinamo hold 5th place with real chance to qualify for Europe, again. In the last round, in city’s derby game against Locomotiv Moscow, they played a draw (1-1), with another goal by Alexandr Kerzakhov (seven goals in 11 appearances, so far), who definitely will be the biggest threat for home’s net. The captain and very important midfielder, Dmitry Khokhlov is suspended, while the acquisition from Portugal side Braga, Luis Aguiar still isn’t fully fit and won’t appear. It is expected the talented youngsters Smolov, Kokorin and Svezhov get the chance tonight, but the big question is how they’ll react on hot atmosphere on Celtic Park.

Tony Mowbray have been making some statements, pointing Russian collective spirit, definite shape and organization, but the true is, he is looking for a convincing victory and finishing the job in the first game. I don’t think Celtic will trash them, but home win is absolutely real. Home win (Sunderlands 2.00) and over (Expekt 2.15).


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