Is now the perfect time for Celtic to face Lazio?

Celtic will continue their search for their first points of the UEFA Champions League group stage when they welcome the visit of Italian giants Lazio to Celtic Park. It won’t be the first time the two sides have faced off against each other in a European competition, with Neil Lennon’s Celtic side completing a famous double over the Biancocelesti back in 2019.

Celtic will be high on confidence heading into this one after a good recent run of games in the cinch Premiership, where the mentality of the team has been the key factor. The team comfortably dispatched of a hard-to-beat Livingston side at the Tony Macaroni Arena with 10 men following Joe Hart’s sending off and followed that up with a dramatic late-win at Fir Park over Motherwell in the most recent fixture.

The team won’t just be encouraged by their own form but also by the visitors’ as Maurizio Sarri’s side have had a horrendous start to Lazio’s league campaign. This is their worst start to a Serie A season in over 20 years and the results especially against the division’s lower sides have been far from convincing.

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They started the season with defeats to minnows Lecce as well as newly-promoted Genoa. The Biancocelesti have just 2 league wins to their name at this stage in the season, those being a 2-0 home win over Torino and a shock away win at the Maradona against Serie A champions Napoli.

Despite their poor start to the domestic campaign, Lazio grabbed a point from their group stage opener against Atletico Madrid at the Stadio Olimpico and in dramatic fashion. They trailed after half an hour with Pablo Barrios putting the Spaniards ahead, but a 95th minute equaliser from none other than their goalkeeper Ivan Provadel snatched a vital point against a team that look like they could be runaway group leaders.

There are plenty of players in that team that can threaten, with the standout trio being Ciro Immobile, Daichi Kamada and Matti Zacagni.

Immobile has been one of the top marksmen in Europe for years now, but with injuries affecting his availability last season, it was winger Zacagni who stepped up and did his best to fill the void of goals left by the 33-year-old’s absence. Kamada is a Japan international who shone at Eintracht Frankfurt, winning the Europa League with the German side before leaving for Lazio upon the expiry of his contract in the summer.


Forward Immobile could be nursing an injury heading into tonight’s encounter, and Lazio’s talisman missing out would be a massive absence for the visitors but also a massive boost for Celtic.

Celtic will be looking for a reaction to the disappointing defeat to Feyenoord in the group stage opener, and there would be no better way to do just that than by grabbing all three points in Brendan Rodgers’ first Champions League home game at Celtic Park since his return in the summer.

There was plenty of things to be encouraged about despite the defeat in Rotterdam, and if Rodgers can carry over the positives to tonight’s encounter, then there will be no better chance for Celtic to get some important early points on the board.


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