Both halves of the Old Firm are in Europa League action on Thursday. Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse offers a nice priced prediction on each...


Tense atmosphere expected

A tense atmosphere is expected at Stade Olimpico on Thursday as Lazio seek revenge when hosting Europa League Group E rivals Celtic in a match scheduled for a 5.55pm kick-off. The Italians were beaten in Glasgow a fortnight ago and slumped to third in the pile as a result.
Celtic are flying high, racing into pole position in the group and if they are able to take anything home with them from Italy it would be seen as an important result, enhancing their chances of being involved in European football after Christmas.

Lazio left shell-shocked

Simone Inzaghi's Lazio side arrived in Glasgow two weeks ago confident they had the measure of their Scottish opponents and were good enough to collect all three points. Perhaps the Serie A side were just a little too confident. They took an early lead through Manuel Lazzari just before the break and carried that advantage into half-time. The chat during the 15-minute interval would've been: 'more of the same, please.'
Bigger clubs than Lazio have come to Parkhead and been toppled over the years, however, and The Eagles were pegged back to level by Ryan Christie with 67 minutes on the clock. That inspired the sell-out home support and although there were chances to win it at either end, it was Neil Lennon's battlers who scraped through. Christopher Jullien rattled home a towering header, sending Lazio home shell-shocked.
The Italians, taking a goal lead and then returning empty-handed, would have been furious. They finished that match with 50% of the possession away from home and five shots on target to the two of their opponents. Will we see repeat or revenge on Thursday? The Betfair Exchange has a home cheer as 1.65 favourite, proving backers are confident Lazio can right the wrongs of Glasgow.

Lennon has made a fantastic start

Neil Lennon's Bhoys may have upset the odds that night to grab a famous win over a respected Serie A side but it would have come as little surprise to the manager or the majority of those in attendance that night. There may have been a few complaints when the Northern Irishman was announced as Brendan Rodgers' permanent replacement last season, but he has led his troops to a very good start, both domestically and on the continent.
Celtic suffered the agony of missing out of the Champions League earlier this year, but they stand top of the Scottish Premiership and at the head of Europa League Group E after three games. The Hoops have already recorded a win over Old Firm rivals Rangers at Ibrox and are in the mix for yet another Scottish league treble. More than a few of the doubters have become believers.
A win over Lazio in Italy would eclipse the heroics of a fortnight ago but it's likely, at this stage, Celtic would see the value in a draw. If they can take four points from two games against the group favourites they'll be in a fantastic position to progress. The draw is 4.10 second favourite on the Exchange against the 5.60 for an away win.

Rangers could've won it

Back in Glasgow as Rangers are hoping to make home advantage count against another giant of European football in Porto. The light blues went to Estadio do Dragao last time and were tipped to lose by just about every pundit. They were good enough, organised enough and brave enough under promising young manager Steven Gerrard to earn a draw in Portugal, however, fighting for a 1-1 finish. A share of the spoils at Porto is no mean feat but supporters travelled home believing they deserved better after watching the Gers go toe-to-toe and rock the Primeira Liga runners up.
Porto started the better of the two teams on 24 October and got themselves in front thanks to a goal from Luis Diaz. The floodgates were then expected to swing open but falling behind seemed to inspire Rangers and they had star striker Alfredo Morelos to thank for levelling just before half-time with a goal typical of the Colombian. He's now on 10 for the season in this competition and is catching the eye of some big-name admirers.
A draw in Portugal was unexpected but the home side will see no reason why they can't finish the job and beat Porto in Govan. They have won their only other home match in this group, beating Feyenoord 1-0 in September thanks to a goal from on-loan Liverpool attacker Sheyi Ojo. Another home win is 2.78 second favourite on the Exchange, the draw a chunky 3.50.

Porto need to improve

Porto will board a flight to Glasgow airport knowing they must do better if they are to live up to expectations and beat Rangers. Not only did they suffer the sting of dropping two points from a winning position in front of their own fans, they were also forced to watch on as their opponents enjoyed an equal share of possession. Not too many teams do that at Estadio do Dragao.
That home draw means Porto - early favourite to win the group - are now third, only Feyenoord beneath them in the pecking order. Group G has Young Boys top with six points, ahead of Rangers on four, Porto a goal behind and the Dutch representatives sitting on three. There's still all to play for but there can be no room for error.
Porto may be camped in the away dressing room, about to walk out into the intimidating atmosphere of Ibrox Park on a European night, but they go with the support of the Betfair backers. The away win is picked at 2.70 on the Exchange. Both teams to score, as they did a fortnight ago, is one for your accas at 1.68.

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