Celtic head to Estonia for the second leg of their Champions League qualifying second round match played on Tuesday evening. Punters looking to place their bets on this match should keep in mind it carries a 6.00pm kick-off and will be shown live on Celtic TV. The Bhoys aim to take a step closer to reaching the money-spinning group stages of UEFA’s premier competition. Here are our Nomme Kalju v Celtic betting tips.
The visitors appear to have one foot in the next round thanks to a stunning 5-0 win over the same opponent in Glasgow on Wednesday. A tight, nervy match was expected with the Estonian champions expected to shut up shop and make life difficult for The Hoops, but it didn’t go to plan. The Scottish treble winners strolled to a 5-0 victory and can now start planning for a third-round match vs Tel Aviv or Cluj.
Celtic Impress With 5-0 Home Win
You couldn’t help but be impressed by how Neil Lennon’s Celtic side handled themselves on Wednesday. It was a game they were expected to win with a bit to spare but they deserve credit for beating anyone at this level by five goals. With the Scottish Premiership season getting underway on Saturday, the aggregate score means they can afford to field a weaker side and rest a few of their star names ahead of the visit of St Johnstone.
Even if Lennon does decide to rest a few it’s unlikely to knock the team off their stride as they have already proven they are streets ahead of Nomme Kalju. There’s a strong argument to be made that Celtic and Rangers shouldn’t be in the early rounds of the Champions League and the Europa League and that stance has been backed by results so far. Rangers beat St Josephs 10-0 in the first qualifying round and Old Firm rivals Celtic have hit 10 goals in three games against Sarajevo and Nomme Kalju.
Bigger and better things will come for both teams, but it does give Celtic a chance to raise the fitness levels of their squad in plenty of time for the new season. Will we see another free-scoring win for The Bhoys on the road? Traders think it’s likely and, having seen nothing to convince them Pink Panther are capable of a fightback, the money men are confident enough to offer the away day as odds-on favourite. That will put some off supporting the away win, but there’s more value to be had in the specials and that will catch the eye of backers.
Griffiths Back with a Bang
It took Celtic 36 minutes to break Nomme Kalju’s resistance on Thursday in Glasgow but once they did the floodgates opened and the goals flowed. Ajer broke the deadlock to ease tensions, both in the stands and on the field of play, and that was quickly followed by the first of two goals for Christie on 44 minutes. Heading into the break with a cushion, there was still time for the hosts to score one more goal and, as it turned out, it was the pick of the bunch.
Leigh Griffiths has endured a nightmare spell away from football, taking time out to battle a gambling addiction. Many believed he would never play again, certainly not at a high level, but the Scotland striker scored a Champions League goal on his first start for the club since December. It was one everyone inside the stadium enjoyed, except of course Nomme Kalju. Supporters will hope it’s the first of many, as will Lennon who knows the advantages of having a fit and focussed Leigh Griffiths to call upon.
Speaking to the press at the conclusion of the match, Griffiths struggled to hide his emotions. The 28-year-old from Edinburgh told reporters he was close to tears when scoring one of the most important goals of his career, knowing it was watched by family and friends. He looked to the future, however, and seemed in a fighting mood when hoping it was the start of more goals and a run of games in the squad. He seemed to be enjoying his football again and, having scored a sublime effort from 30 yards, who could blame him?
Improvement is Unlikely
Will Nomme Kalju offer anything different on their own patch? It’s unlikely as they now know they have nothing to play for, already out of the Champions League, and that will hurt. Last week’s beating was fully deserved but it was a result and performance that would’ve knocked the stuffing out of Pink Panther and we don’t believe they’ve had time to recover with a six-day turnaround. Their best chance at getting anything out of this match is Celtic fielding a weakened side and taking their foot off the gas with the job done at the earliest opportunity.
Celtic will have an eye on Saturday’s match with St Johnstone when they will unfurl the championship flag at Parkhead, but they will also want to send a message out to the winner of Tel Aviv v Cluj, a match taking place in Israel at 6.00pm. Qualification to the Champions League proper is in their sights and with players fighting for position, anyone called in to do a job on Tuesday must impress, especially on the back of that first leg performance.
The away win is favourite, but we believe it deserves a place in your midweek accumulators and can be backed at 3/10 with 888Sport. That’s tight but it’s a stance that’s difficult to argue against, given what we saw last time. Those after a bigger price can try their luck in the specials markets where they’ll find 3/4 (Unibet) about Celtic -1 on the handicap. If the leaders do field a weakened team and Nomme Kalju are a bit more adventurous, this could develop into a decent game. Both teams to score in an away win is 5/4 at 888sport.