Scots in Armenia
Celtic embark on long road to Champions League
Brendan Rodgers: long road (pic: SNS Group)
With the eyes of the football world on Russia, Celtic will be hoping they can grab some positive headlines as they embark on their own journey into eastern Europe today.
Brendan Rodgers’ team are in Armenia for the opening qualifying round of the Champions League which this year involves four ties and eight matches to reach the group stage because of format changes to the competition.
The Parkhead men are Yerevan where the temperature is expected to reach 33 degrees for the first leg clash with FC Alashkert, a team that already has winning form against Scottish teams having defeated St Johnstone in their first-ever European match three years ago.
The scorer in that 1-0 first leg victory, Mihran Manasyan, remains in the team and has been top scorer three times in the Armenian top flight.
Celtic are missing key defenders Dedryck Boyata and Mikael Lustig through their involvement in the World Cup, while Tom Rogic remains absent following Australia’s group stage exit.
Both Moussa Dembele and club record signing from Paris Saint-Germain Odsonne Edouard look set to start up front.
The match kicks off at 5pm BST and is likely to attract a crowd of about 7,000.