Neil Lennon is enjoying his second lease on life at Celtic Park again. Take 2 as the Celtic boss couldn’t be going off to a better start had he scripted the narrative himself and he’s savouring every glorious moment in each campaign.
A thrilling title race in Scottish Premier League with familiar foes Rangers, soaring in UEFA Europa League and a BetFred Cup final on the horizon, the new Lennon era is a smashing success so far. But Lennon and the Bhoys aren’t done yet.
Capitalising on these opportunities is what defines a campaign when all is said and done, and there are several big nights looming on the horizon that will reveal in no uncertain terms the true measure of Celtic across all campaigns.
As it stands, Celtic are in a good place and that is being mirrored across various top betting sites, nowhere more so than in Scottish Premier League markets where the Bhoys lead the charge as the best bet to win in outrights, priced at -200 with Bet365. Arch-rivals Rangers are priced as a distant +150 bet.
Despite Celtic’s favourable football odds, Lennon’s lads don’t have the domestic title in the bag. Far from it.
Celtic and Rangers are neck-and-neck in the table, on a level at 31 points in Scotland’s top-flight through 12 matches, with the former edging the latter on goal differential and head-to-head. Both boast 10-1-1 records, but Celtic have netted 36 goals to the Rangers’ 35 all the while both have conceded just 7 each in domestic action.
Earlier in the season, Celtic stunned their Glasgow rivals Rangers 2-0 at Ibrox Stadium on matchday 4, a result that is sure to set up an intense reverse when this pair renews hostilities at Celtic Park on December 29.
Before the much anticipated Scottish Premier League showdown between this pair, the Glasgow natives are set to reprise hostilities in the League Cup final at Hampden Park on December 8, a clash that is delicately poised on the football odds board.
Celtic are priced at +110 to win while Rangers are tipped as the underdogs at +250 and the draw is tipped at +230 in match betting markets.
Celtic’s edge is equally reflected in outrights to win the Betfred Cup final where they are priced at -175 to lift the coveted trophy all the while the Rangers are priced at +125.
A fortnight ago, Celtic recorded their first-ever victory on Italian soil when they beat Lazio 2-1 at Stadio Olimpico and, in turn, assuring passage into Europe’s second-tier club competition last 32.
Olivier Ntcham scored the last-gasp winner in a brilliant come-from-behind win over the Italians that mirrored the corresponding fixture at Celtic Park earlier in October when the hosts then trailed 0-1 in the first-half before scoring two late goals in the second-half to send fans into a tizzy in the nation’s capital.
Celtic’s victory at Olimpico rubber-stamped the Scottish side’s ticket into the knockout stages of the premier competition. Qualifying for Europe with two games to spare in group action is an unheard of accomplishment for a Celtic team that’s endured many a disappointment on the European front in previous years.
It’s a historic achievement, one Lennon hopes the Bhoys can build on to reach new heights. Before Lennon’s lads get too far ahead of themselves though, there is still the small matter of finishing group action. Two matches remain to decide the group and given current form and ambition you can bet Celtic are eyeing top spot.
Celtic lead Group E with a 3-1-0 record and 10 points, an undefeated run of form that underscores their favourable odds to advance into UEFA Europa League knockouts as group winners.
As it is, Celtic are priced at -300 or thereabouts to clinch top spot in the table.
Romanian hopefuls CFR Cluj, priced at +240 to clinch Group E, are nipping at Celtic’s heels with a 3-0-1 record, just a point adrift.
Celtic beat CFR Cluj 2-0 on the away on October 3, promising a right cracker when the pair collide in the final lap of Europa League group action at Celtic Park on December 12. Depending on what happens on matchday 5 in Europe, the reverse between the group leaders could potentially decide the group’s standings.
Then again, Celtic with a slightly more straightforward clash on matchday 5 against group minnows Rennes could decide their own fate then and there. CFR Cluj have a much tougher ask against Lazio at the Olimpico.
The Bhoys enter the big night in European action as the significant home faves at -182 to win while the French visitors are tipped at +450 and the draw is priced at +320.
A win for Celtic over Rennes at Celtic Park on November 28 is sure to send fans into yet another tizzy and keep the keen for more big nights at Celtic Park in Europe and across all other competitions.