Glasgow Celtic face a tough battle after being drawn against Russian side Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League.

The Hoops failed to make it out of their Champions League group and would have been hoping for an easier tie in order to progress in the competition, but instead will have to face a strong Russian team.

Zenit eased into the round of 32 with five wins and one draw, securing 16 points in the process. They also scored more goals than anyone else in the opening round of the Europa League; finding the back of the net on 17 occasions.

Brendan Rodgers’ side will have to ensure defensively they do all they can to keep out such a prolific forward line.

Ahead of the tie, Zenit president Sergei Fursenko swept aside any notion that the Scottish champions would pose a threat to his club.

“We have already played against Scottish clubs, like Glasgow Rangers, and been quite successful. If we set ourselves the highest goals, then we must get past teams like this. I think this was a good draw for us,” Fursenko said in the Daily Record.

The Russian side are managed by former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. The Italian has previous experience of Parkhead after he managed an Inter Milan team that beat the Bhoys 4-3 on aggregate back in 2015.

Zenit are unlikely to be intimidated by the hostile atmosphere they will get at Celtic Park but Rodgers will hope that one area he can have the edge over his counterparts is in match fitness.

Mancini’s side are now on a winter break and will not return to league action until March. Therefore, the Northern Irishman’s side should have the upper hand in terms of match sharpness.

Celtic will host Zenit at Parkhead on February 15th and this is what the fans are saying:


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