Team news and stats ahead of Real Betis vs Celtic in the Europa League group stage on Thursday; kick off at 5.45 p.m.
Celtic will be without captain Callum McGregor. The Scottish midfielder will miss the Europa League opener in Spain after suffering a blow, while striker Liel Abada will be out as he observes the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
With talismanic striker Kyogo Furuhashi also absent, Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou knows his side will face a severe test against a side that finished sixth in La Liga last season.
Right-back Anthony Ralston is available after missing last weekend’s win over Ross County as Celtic return to the city that hosted their defeat in the 2003 UEFA Cup final to Porto, when they provided memorable travel support to Andalusia.
Postecoglou excited by Betis prospect
celtic boss Angel Postecoglou: “We asked someone to watch them play on Monday. We have all the information we need on them. They brought in a couple of them but it’s a pretty stable team. I have an exceptional manager, but this is the type of opposition we want to measure ourselves against.
“That’s why we were so happy to go into this group stage because we knew we would have some pretty exciting matches. We want to enjoy it, but we will only do that if we have an impact. Can we play. our football against some quality opposition at home and away?
“We hope to make some special nights, but I want the fun to come from our belief in the kind of football team we want to be.
“I don’t want us to be fearful or hesitant. To really have an experience, I’ve always thought that you have to give your all and believe in something, and usually you come away after you’ve had that experience to its fullest. the most complete. “
How to follow
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- This is the very first European meeting between Real Betis and Celtic, and the Spanish team’s very first game against Scottish opponents.
- Celtic have lost their last six major UEFA European games to opponents Spain by an aggregate score of 19-1 since defeating Barcelona 2-1 in November 2012 in the Champions League, despite holding only 16 % in this match.
- This is Real Betis’ first European campaign since 2018-19, when they played in the UEFA Europa League and were eliminated in the round of 16 by Rennes. They have lost just one of their 12 previous group stage matches in the competition (5 v., 6 n.), A 1-0 loss to Lyon in November 2013, while they never conceded more than once in a group stage match, keeping eight clean goals. .
- In all European competitions, Celtic have never won an away game against Spanish opponents in 18 attempts against seven different teams (D3 L15). Their last Spanish visit was a 1-0 loss to Valencia in the UEFA Europa League in February 2019.
- Celtic coach Ange Postecoglou is the very first Australian to manage the UEFA Europa League, while his counterpart Manuel Pellegrini is expected to take charge of a Europa League game for the first time. However, the Chilean managed Villarreal in the 2004-05 and 2007-08 UEFA Cup campaigns, losing just two of those 20 appearances in both seasons (12 v., N. 6).