Friday 19 January 2018

Celtic facing battle against all odds in Inter mission

'Everything is possible in football and we have a chance'
'Everything is possible in football and we have a chance'

Roddy Forsyth

Celtic have not won in their last five away games in Europe, have conceded 11 goals in their four most recent European outings and have not recorded a victory in 11 trips to Italy.

Inter Milan are unbeaten in their last 10 home games in Europe and have scored two or more goals in 11 of their appearances at the San Siro this season.

Go figure.

Those who are paid to do exactly that have Inter at 8/13 to prevail in the second leg of this Europa League round of 32 tie, with the aggregate score standing at 3-3. Celtic priced at 4/1 against for a win.

The outcome could, of course, be a draw, in which case a 4-4 score - or higher - will see the Scottish champions into the last 16.

The prospect of a ludicrous split decision or a victory for Celtic does not constitute an outrage to common sense but it does send a probe into the outer reaches of credibility.

At home last week, they handed Inter a 2-0 lead within 13 minutes, clawed themselves back to parity by the half hour mark and saw the resolutely imperturbable Craig Gordon literally throw a goal away before the break.

Then they salvaged a draw in injury time with a spectacular overhead volley from John Guidetti, a player who would not have been on the field had Anthony Stokes not breached club discipline by extending a home visit to Dublin by an extra day.

Jason Denayer has been pronounced fit to play after a bout of cramp saw him removed during Sunday's 4-0 home win over Hamilton. The alternative - that the accident-prone Efe Ambrose might have to be summoned - would be close to the banishment of all hope.

"But everything is possible in football and we have a chance," said Celtic boss Ronny Deila. "We have everything to win and we are going to go for that victory and go through."

As the purveyors of those odds would say - you bet. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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