Kevin Phillips has suggested that Celtic will overcome FC Midtjylland in their two-legged UEFA Champions League qualifier next month when speaking to Football Insider.
The Lowdown: Celtic gear up for crucial 2021/22 fixtures
As the Celts look ahead to the 2021/22 campaign, much intrigue will surround how they go about trying to reclaim the Premiership title at the first time of asking. However, European football will also take precedence next season as the Hoops aim to bring raucous nights back to Parkhead against elite clubs from the continent.
Celtic are scheduled to begin their quest for group stage action at home to FC Midtjylland on 20 July, before the return leg eight days later [Daily Record].
In a recent interview with Football Insider, former Premier League striker turned pundit Phillips was quick to talk up the Bhoys’ chances of taking the first step towards making the group stage of the tournament.
Will Celtic reach the UEFA Champions League group stages?
The Latest: Phillips tips Celtic to defeat Midtjylland
Speaking about Celtic’s chances of defeating their Danish opponents, Phillips told Football Insider: “It will be difficult because they’ve got some history in European football. It won’t be easy, it never is.
“You would have to say it’s a big season for them this year. With the new manager of course at a big club. “But I can definitely see them coming through that over two legs.
“I wouldn’t say they’ll come through it comfortably but if they get off to a flyer that could set them up nicely for the season ahead.”
The Verdict: Phillips point out glaring reality for Postecoglou
The former Sunderland striker makes an excellent point regarding the difficulties Celtic may face against the Danish Superliga runners-up. If they do indeed make it through the second-round tie, the Bhoys will be just four games away from Europe’s premier competition, as well as being in line to make a windfall to the tune of €15.6m (£13.4m) [UEFA].
Furthermore, it would also be the first time Ange Postecoglou’s men will have featured in the group phase since the 2017/18 campaign under Brendan Rodgers [Transfermarkt]. Having flunked out against the likes of Ferencvaros, CFR Cluj and AEK Athens since then [Transfermarkt], Phillips is right to suggest that the Parkhead club may not have it all too easy and that the new manager faces some pivotal matches early in his reign.
If the Celts can recruit correctly before the crunch double header, there is every chance they could secure a morale-boosting win to kickstart their 2021/22 campaign. Recently linked with moves for Sunderland striker Charlie Wyke and Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Mat Ryan, they seem to be getting their ducks in a row well in advance.
In other news, Celtic are locked in talks for a 31-goal striker.
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