Celtic kick off their Europa League campaign tonight against Real Betis. The group G clash is a highly anticipated one and will be the first time the two sides have played each other in a European tie.
Ange Postecoglou and his players will be hoping to get off to a perfect start in what is a relatively tough group, although they will have to do it the hard way.
In his pre-match press conference yesterday , Postecoglou confirmed captain Callum McGregor will miss the game due to a knock. Liel Abada will also miss the match due to Yom Kippur.
Left back Greg Taylor, who suffered a shoulder injury during Saturday’s 3-0 win against Ross County, will now require surgery, Postecoglou has said.
James Forrest also won’t be available for the match but should be available for selection again next week. New striker Giorgos Giakoumakis will have to wait to make his Celtic debut as he is not yet match fit.
There is some good news when it comes to the team selection. Postecoglou confirmed that Anthony Ralston will be in the squad that travels to Seville and is in contention to play a role in the match.
Christopher Jullien still remains out for the foreseeable future and Kyogo is still three to four weeks away from returning.
This means Celtic are going into the match with seven first team starters unavailable.
The injury to Greg Taylor does provide an opportunity for Adam Montgomery and Liam Scales however.
It was Montgomery who replaced Taylor on Saturday and has looked good in the limited time he has been on the pitch this season.
New signing Scales from Shamrock Rovers will also be wanting to make the left back position his own as he awaits to make his Celtic debut.
The return of Ralston does provide the option of fielding the same back four from the Glasgow derby. With Ralston at right back, Stephen Welsh and Carl Starfelt as the centre backs and Josip Juranovic at left back.
Meanwhile, Real Betis, Celtic’s opponents for tonight, come into the game on the back of their first win of the season on Monday night. A last minute winner from Sergio Canales ensured a 2-1 victory for Betis over Grenada.
However the win came at a cost, as first choice centre back Marc Bartra went off injured after fifteen minutes with a muscle injury and will now miss the game.
The win means Betis sit ninth in La Liga with one win, two draws and one loss.
Managed by former Manchester City and West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, Los Verdiblancos were busy in the summer transfer market.
Willian Jose and Hector Bellerin were among the names brought in, arriving on loan from Real Sociedad and Arsenal respectively.
This will be Betis’ first European campaign since the 2018-19 season where they topped their group containing Olympiacos, AC Milan and F91 Dudelange.
They then faced Rennes in the last 32 where they were beaten 6-4 on aggregate.
Elsewhere in the group, Bayer Leverkusen face Ferencvaros at the BayArena in Germany.