Celtic v Zenit background

Celtic lost all three home games in the UEFA Champions League group stage and must improve that record against Zenit, who were imperious in reaching the round of 32.

Brendan Rodgers and Celtic are targeting a run in the UEFA Europa League
Brendan Rodgers and Celtic are targeting a run in the UEFA Europa League ©Getty Images

Defeated in all three of their home games in the UEFA Champions League group stage, Celtic face the difficult task of reversing their European fortunes in Glasgow against a Zenit side that amassed more UEFA Europa League points and goals in the autumn than any of the other 47 participating teams en route to qualifying for the round of 32.

• Celtic required only three points to take third place in their UEFA Champions League section whereas Zenit chalked up 16, scoring 17 goals, in topping UEFA Europa League Group L ahead of fellow qualifiers Real Sociedad

Previous meetings
• There have been no previous matches between the teams in UEFA competition.

• Celtic have a positive balance in their six matches against Russian opposition (W3 D2 L1). Their record in Glasgow is less impressive (W1 D1 L1), although they did win the most recent encounter, 2-1 against Spartak Moskva in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Celtic also beat Spartak on penalties at Celtic Park after drawing both legs 1-1 against them in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

• Zenit's solitary experience of Scottish opposition came on arguably the greatest night in the St Petersburg club's history – when they defeated Celtic's arch-rivals Rangers 2-0 in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup final in Manchester.

Form guide
• Celtic have not tasted victory in any of their last 11 European home matches outside the qualifying phase, losing eight including the last five. They have also gone five successive UEFA Europa League home games without a win (D2 L3).

• UEFA Cup runners-up to FC Porto in 2002/03 and quarter-finalists the following season, the Glasgow club have made it into the UEFA Europa League knockout phase just once before, losing 4-3 on aggregate (3-3 home, 0-1 away) to Internazionale in 2014/15.

• Zenit are playing springtime European football for the eighth year in a row. This is the fifth season during that sequence in which they have participated in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

• Zenit are undefeated in seven UEFA outings (W6 D1), although they have not kept a clean sheet in their last five, conceding one goal in each of those encounters.

• The Russian side were successful at this stage of the competition on each of their first three sorties – against Young Boys in 2010/11, Liverpool in 2012/13 and PSV Eindhoven in 2014/15 – but lost their most recent round of 32 tie, going out on away goals to Anderlecht last season after a 3-3 aggregate draw. They have lost three of their four away fixtures at this juncture of the UEFA Europa League and have been defeated in each of their last four European knockout fixtures outside Russia.

• Celtic won the Scottish domestic treble last season – for the fourth time in their history – without losing a match, an unprecedented achievement. They came through three qualifying ties to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage for the second successive year, overcoming Linfield, Rosenborg and, in the play-offs, Astana.

• Zenit finished third in last season's Russian league and reached the UEFA Europa League group stage after overcoming Bnei Yehuda in the third qualifying round and Utrecht in the play-offs – both on 2-1 aggregate margins, the latter after extra time.

UEFA Europa League squad changes
Celtic
In: Scott Bain, Jack Hendry, Charly Musonda
Out: Kundai Benyu, Jonathan Hayes, Conor Hazard, Liam Henderson, Regan Hendry, Mark Hill, Jamie McCart, Erik Sviatchenko

Zenit
In: Egor Baburin, Ilya Skrobotov, Anton Zabolotni
Out: Artem Dzyuba, Maksim Karpov, Ivan Novoseltsev, Maksim Rudakov

Links and trivia
• When Celtic last appeared in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, the coach of the side that beat them, Internazionale, was current Zenit boss Roberto Mancini.

• Celtic's Brendan Rodgers was on the losing side when his Liverpool team went out to Zenit in the 2012/13 round of 32.

• Celtic's Dedryck Boyata (2009–13) and Scott Sinclair (2013) played under Mancini at Manchester City.

• Sinclair and Zenit's Branislav Ivanović were team-mates at Chelsea between 2008 and 2010, although the former had loan spells at Birmingham and Wigan before departing for a permanent move to Swansea.

• Aleksandr Kokorin scored the winning goal at Celtic Park for Dinamo Moskva in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round; Celtic lost that first leg 1-0 but won 2-0 in Moscow to go through.

• Eboué Kouassi made nine Russian league appearances for FC Krasnodar in 2016/17.

• Kolo Touré, now on Celtic's coaching staff, was part of the Manchester City squad that won the Premier League title in 2011/12 under Mancini.

• Zenit's Emiliano Rigoni is the competition's joint leading scorer alongside Milan's André Silva and Dynamo Kyiv's Júnior Moraes with six goals; Kokorin is next in line with five.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Jozo Šimunović (Celtic); Aleksandr Erokhin (Zenit).

The coaches
• Celtic's Northern Irish boss Brendan Rodgers retired early as a player but made his name in management at Swansea, steering the Welsh club into England's top flight before leaving for Liverpool in June 2012. He led the Reds to a Premier League runners-up spot in 2013/14 but was dismissed in October 2015, resurfacing at Celtic, where he won the Scottish treble with an undefeated record in his first season.

• Former Italy international forward Roberto Mancini took charge of Zenit in June 2017. A Serie A and European Cup Winners' Cup winner as a player with both Sampdoria and Lazio, he coached Internazionale and Manchester City to domestic league championships, and more recently claimed a Turkish Cup triumph with Galatasaray. He has won 12 domestic cups in total as a player and manager.

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