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Preview: Celtic vs. KR Reykjavik - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between Celtic and KR Reykjavik, including team news and predicted lineups.

Celtic will take on Icelandic side KR Reykjavik in the first qualifying round of the Champions League on Tuesday night, with the one-off tie to take place in Glasgow.

The Hoops have picked up four points from their first two matches of their 2020-21 Scottish Premiership season, while Reykjavik are currently second in their domestic table after nine games.

Match preview

Celtic's Ryan Christie celebrates scoring against Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership on August 9, 2020© Reuters

Celtic have had their last two Scottish Premiership matches against St Mirren and Aberdeen postponed due to a breach in lockdown rules, with Hoops defender Boli Bolingoli flying to Spain, failing to quarantine and then playing against Kilmarnock on August 9.

As a result, Neil Lennon's side have not been in action since the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock, and their match fitness will therefore be less than previously expected when they take to the field on Tuesday night.

The Scottish champions will return to domestic action away to Dundee United on August 22 but must now focus on the Champions League as they bid to progress to the second qualifying round and ultimately the group stage, where they have not been present since 2017-18 under the leadership of Brendan Rodgers.

Lennon twice led the Hoops to the group stages of Europe's leading competition during his first spell as head coach, though, famously reaching the last-16 stage in the 2012-13 campaign.

Celtic have previously taken on Reykjavik, meanwhile, recording a 5-0 aggregate victory over the Icelandic side in a Champions League qualifier back in 2014.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon pictured on July 21, 2020© Reuters

Reykjavik's domestic campaign has only just resumed following an enforced three-week break, with a coronavirus spike in Iceland leading to the season being temporarily put on hold.

Runar Kristinsson's side were in action on Friday night, suffering a 2-1 home defeat to FH Hafnarf Jordur, but they are second in their domestic table, five points off the summit with a game in hand.

Reykjavik actually won the Icelandic league by 14 points last season, securing their first domestic title since 2013 in the process, indicating that they are certainly a side to be respected.

They lost 7-1 to Molde in the first qualifying round of last season's Europa League, though, and have only won three of their previous 20 Champions League matches, suffering 13 defeats in the process.

Celtic Champions League form: WWWWDL
Celtic form (all competitions): LWDWWD

Reykjavik Champions League form: LLDLDL
Reykjavik form (all competitions): WWDDWL

Team News

Celtic's Odsonne Edouard celebrates scoring against Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership on August 2, 2020© Reuters

There are not expected to be many surprises in the Celtic lineup for this match, with Odsonne Edouard again expected to lead the line with support from Ryan Christie.

Recently-signed goalkeeper Vasilios Barkas should again get the nod between the sticks, while fellow new arrival Albian Ajeti could be in line to make his Hoops debut off the bench.

Olivier Ntcham is certainly a player pushing for a starting role, although it seems likely that Scott Brown will again be joined by Callum McGregor in the middle of the park.

As for the visitors, key duo Kristinn Jonsson and Kristjan Floka Finnbogason both limped out of their league game on Friday, and head coach Kristinsson has admitted that both players could miss out.

As a result, Alex Hilmarsson and Aegir Jonasson are on standby to come into the starting side, while Pablo Punyed is also an option for change in an attacking position.

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Barkas; Frimpong, Jullien, Ajer, Taylor; McGregor, Brown; Elyounoussi, Christie, Forrest; Edouard

Reykjavik possible starting lineup:
Olafsson; Chopart, F Palmason, Aoalsteinsson, Hilmarsson; P Palmason, Kristinsson, Margeirsson; Sigurjonsson, Jonasson, Hauksson

SM words green background

We say: Celtic 3-0 Reykjavik

Celtic would have ideally wanted a little bit more competitive football ahead of this match, but it is difficult to back anything other than a home win on Tuesday night. The Hoops should have too much quality for the Icelandic side, and we fancy a fairly comfortable three-goal success for the Scottish champions.


Who will progress to the next round of Champions League qualification, Celtic or KR Reykjavik?

KR Reykjavik
KR Reykjavik
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Albian Ajeti in action for Switzerland in September 2018
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