Glasgow Rangers will face Porto in a crucial Europa League clash at Ibrox, while Celtic will travel to Italy to face Lazio on Thursday.
Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has predicted Rangers to earn a 1-1 draw against the Portuguese giants. He also thinks his former club Celtic will suffer a 1-0 defeat against Lazio.
Nicholas has praised Rangers for earning a draw against Porto in their previous Europa League game. He suggests that Porto aren’t the same force what they were used to be a few years ago, but the Euro giants are ‘still incredibly dangerous’.
The Gers are heading into this match on the back of three straight wins, including a 3-0 victory against Hearts in the Scottish League Cup semi-final last week. The confidence in the team is sky high, and Steven Gerrard’s side should be aiming for a positive result.
Rangers are second in Group G with four points from three games, on same points with Porto. Young boys are leading the table with six points, two points ahead of them.
“Like Celtic, the Rangers draw in Porto was something I didn’t quite anticipate. Steven Gerrard left out Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo, who haven’t played at this level before. He went with a cunning and experienced plan and it worked a treat with Rangers playing really well,” said Nicholas to Sky Sports.
“Everyone was expecting them to go back to forward and fill in when they didn’t have the ball, but they were worthy of a point, and if not all three. Porto are not what they were four or five year ago but are still incredibly dangerous. They are all technically very good players. The passion, drive and commitment can get you over the line, but it will be a frustrating night for Rangers. It is hard to pin who wins this group and this result will leave it wide open with a draw.”
Celtic, who are leading the Scottish Premiership table, won 2-1 against Lazio when the two sides met last month at Parkhead.
Nicholas suggests that Celtic under Neil Lennon are not a side that love to sit back and wait for the counter. This is a must-win game for Lazio, and the Sky Sports pundit believes the Serie A side will be seeking revenge.
The Bhoys are heading into this match on the back of five straight wins in all competitions, and they should approach the game with a positive frame of mind.
Celtic are top of their group with seven points and even a draw in Italy would be a fantastic result for them.
“In this one, do they attack, counter-attack or sit in? They are not a team that naturally sit in. Domestically, they have 70 per cent of the ball. Celtic are getting better at it and Neil Lennon is asking them to play the ball forward much quicker,” said Nicholas.
“Lazio will be angry and agitated as they should have gone two or three up at Celtic Park. The Serie A side must win here to stay in the group. Cluj will win I think so it may come down to head-to-head with these two sides. Lazio went fourth in Serie A and will get their revenge in this one.”