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Hoops to enjoy home comforts? Get Celtic v Nomme Kalju tips

Leigh Copson 19 Jul 2019
Celtic (credit:Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images)

Celtic v Nomme Kalju predictions for the Champions League qualifier on Wednesday, July 24. Will Celtic draw first blood as they look to move a step closer to the lucrative group stage of the Champions League? Read on for all of our free betting tips and predictions.

Celtic v Nomme Kalju

Celtic cleared the first hurdle in their quest to reach the group stage of the Champions League, but they had to survive a couple of scares along the way as they saw off Sarajevo over two legs. The Hoops came from a goal down to run out 3-1 winners when they visited the Bosnian champions for the first leg, and they would have fallen behind again in the return meeting had an early effort from Mersudin Ahmetovic not been ruled out for offside. It was though and goals from Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor either side of a Benjamin Tatar strike were enough to hand Neil Lennon’s side a 5-2 aggregate win and a place in the second round of qualifying.

“I'm very satisfied with the performance and the result,” Lennon told BBC Radio Scotland afterwards. “I thought we were excellent and played with some great attacking intent. They're a very good side. To get a through two legs like that so early against a big, strong, physical team, I think we've negotiated the tie very well.”

Celtic’s reward for successfully seeing off Sarajevo is a two-legged tie with Estonian side Nomme Kalju, who sprang something of a surprise in the previous round. Roman Kozhukhovskyi’s men were expected to make an early exit at the hands of Macedonian champions Shkendija and that looked like happening when they were beaten 1-0 at home in the first leg. However, a last-gasp goal from Brazilian forward Liliu in the return meeting handed them a 2-1 victory in Macedonia, and those two away goals proved the be decisive because they were what propelled them into the next round.

So can Nomme Kalju follow up that upset by shocking the Scottish champions? We have already seen one of the Scotland’s top clubs suffer an embarrassing exit (Kilmarnock lost to Welsh part-timers Connah’s Quad Nomads in Europa League qualifying) and the Hoops were beaten by Lincoln Red Imps a couple of years ago, but it would be foolish to predict anything other than a victory for Lennon’s men here, especially with the first leg taking place at home.

They have conceded in each of their Champions League qualifying fixtures so far and that will have disappointed the boss, but Celtic boast plenty of attacking talent that can allow them to overcome those mishaps at the back and that forward group has only been strengthened by the return of Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths, who will be looking to make up for last time after sitting out a chunk of the 2018/19 campaign. Celtic will want to head to Estonia for the second leg with a commanding lead, and I fully expect that to happen as they take full advantage of their home comforts on Wednesday night.

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Hoops to enjoy home comforts? Get Celtic v Nomme Kalju tips

Celtic v Nomme Kalju predictions for the Champions League qualifier on Wednesday, July 24.

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