Former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas is predicting a disappointing night for the Bhoys in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie with Zenit Saint Petersburg.

His old side triumphed 1-0 at Parkhead against their Russian counterparts last week thanks to a superb late strike from Callum McGregor.

However, Nicholas is not confident that they will see it through to the final 16 and has plumped for a 3-1 triumph for the home team on Thursday night.

“I have to admit Celtic’s defensive structure, which had been all over the place, looked excellent last weekend to go against my prediction that they’d lose the first leg,” the ex-Arsenal striker told Sky Sports.

“Plenty of my friends point out that Zenit haven’t played in months but more importantly Celtic showed they do have Plan B in European games when they know they’re not going to dominate the ball.

“People might think us Scots are okay with the weather over there but the conditions are a different level of cold and I’m afraid I’m going for a tough night for the travellers and another Celtic defeat.”

Nicholas is a club legend at Celtic having scored over 120 goals for the Hoops across two stints during his playing career.

Nonetheless, his prediction of a defeat in Saint Petersburg is representative of the difficulty of the task awaiting them.

Zenit may not be the force that they have been over previous campaigns but they lie second in the Russian Premier League and have experience in the knockout rounds of the Champions League as recently as two seasons ago.

As for the Scottish Premiership title holders, they were held to a 0-0 draw by St Johnstone at the weekend but may need to find the net to progress in Europe.

Having kept a clean sheet at home, Celtic know that if they score even a loss by one goal would not prevent them from progressing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here