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Neil Lennon finally landed a win on Thursday night hosting Lille, but with that a meaningless fixture having already been knocked out of the Europa League in humiliating fashion, the Northern Irishman remains under immense pressure to secure further results.
Still, he would have been pleased to see some of his fringe players perform well, though he may be without Jeremie Frimpong after the winger suffered a nasty clash between his head and the advertising boards.
The hosts are also without James Forrest and Michael Johnston, who are nursing ankle and knee complaints respectively. Kilmarnock are faring better in the injury department, though defenders Stuart Findlay and Clevid Dikamona are suspended as the visitors have suffered red cards in each of their past two outings.
I’s also worth noting that the victory over Lille was just Celtic’s third win in 13 appearances since the October international break (W3-D4-L6), and indeed the first in six.
Even though they scored three times against the French outfit, they still shipped two goals as the defence remains a glaring weak link for the Hoops.
Kilmarnock +1.75 Asian Handicap
Celtic kept just the solitary clean sheet across those 13 most recent matches, and conceded a minimum of two goals in 10 of these. Both teams have scored in 10 of their last 12 now, including each of their past four league matches, and it’s hard to see where their next clean sheet is going to come from.
Kille aren’t the biggest of goal threats and have lost four of their past five league games by a 1-0 scoreline. However, they did find the net when these two drew 1-1 back in August, as both teams have actually scored in six of eight meetings since 2018/19, and all four since the start of last season.
We’d be confident backing both teams to score in virtually any Celtic game at present, but with opponents Killie failing to score in nine of 16 road trips in the league since December last year, we’d be a little wary on this occasion.
However, they only lost two of the last 15 of these by a two-goal margin or greater, so should at the very least prove competitive.
That’s especially the case given Celtic have won just one of their last four home league games by more than a single strike, and just one of five home or away.
One gutsy performance in Europe doesn’t convince us that their woes are suddenly behind them, with the defensive deficiencies on display throughout the season, not just in their recent form.