Celtic vs KR Reykjavik : Celtic’s yearly quest to reach the group stages of the Champions League begins with a tie against Icelandic champions KR Reykjavik.
After two seasons of failure in the qualifying rounds, Celtic will be desperate to get off to a strong start at Parkhead.
And they will come into the game with fresh legs after their Premiership games with St Mirren and Aberdeen were postponed due to Boli Bolingoli’s breach of the Coronavirus rules.
Like the latter stages of the 2019-20 Champions and Europa Leagues, this tie will be played over 90 minutes rather than two legs.
In KR Reykjavik, Celtic face opposition they got the better of six years ago with a 5-0 win on aggregate, which included a 4-0 win in Glasgow.
And the importance of them getting a result and trying to end their Champions League exile cannot be understated as they try to attract the best players to Scotland and reap the financial rewards.
Boss Neil Lennon (pictured above) is pleased to be at home, even if they are missing the famous home crowd.
“There’s no question the fans will be missed,” Lennon told Celtic’s website. “There’s no better place to be than a European game at Celtic Park. It’s been a huge positive for us and it manifested itself last season in the Europa League with the players responding to that.
“We have to adapt and get used to this new norm for however long it’s going to be. We have to be consistent, win the games and find our best form as we go along.”
Albian Ajeti may make his debut after joining from West Ham last week and new keeper Vasilios Barkas will get his first taste of European football in a Celtic shirt.
The winners of this game will face either Hungarian side Ferencvaros or Swedish champions Djurgarden, who play tomorrow.
Did you know?
KR Reykjavik won last season’s Icelandic title by 14 points, their first success since 2014.
They have won just three of their 20 Champions League qualifying games, losing 13 of those matches.
The last time they made the first round proper of a European tournament was the 1996-97 Cup Winners’ Cup, when they beat Belarusian side Slavia Mazyr to set up a tie with AIK Stockholm, which they lost 2-1 on aggregate.