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Hapoel prepare for return of Celtic

Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC can breathe a sigh of relief that Henrik Larsson has long since moved on as they prepare to face Celtic FC for the first time in a decade in their first UEFA Europa League Group C game.

Celtic lost out to Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League play-offs this season
Celtic lost out to Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League play-offs this season ©Getty Images

Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC will meet Celtic FC for the first time in a decade in their opening UEFA Europa League Group C game and fortunately for the home side, this time there will be no Henrik Larsson to bother them.

Previous meetings

• When Dror Kashtan's Tel-Aviv met Celtic in the first round of the 1999/00 UEFA Cup, Sweden forward Larsson hit all three goals in a 3-0 aggregate win for John Barnes's side – two at home and one more away. Israeli international Eyal Berkovic came on for Celtic in the second leg.

• The teams for that second-leg tie in Israel were:
Tel-Aviv: Elimelech, Cohen (Balili 81), Ohaion, Gershon, Računica, Rupnik, Pisont, Toama (Harazi 46), Antebi, Bakhar (Elkayam 73), Cimirotič.
Celtic: Gould, McNamara, Stubbs, Larsson, Burley, Lambert, Tébily, Petrov (Wieghorst 60), Moravčík (Blinker 68), Riseth, Viduka (Berkovic 73).

Match background

• Celtic never played in the UEFA Cup group stage, but Tel-Aviv did so twice. They progressed in the 2006/07 edition before losing 5-2 on aggregate to Celtic's arch-rivals Rangers FC in the round of 32, but then missed the cut the following season.

• Hapoel have not lost in four UEFA Europa League games this season. However, they have drawn two and lost one of their three games at the Bloomfield Stadium since beating FK Vojvodina 3-0 in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round.

• Celtic have won only one of their last 24 European away matches, breaking a long drought with a 2-0 victory at FC Dinamo Moskva in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. They subsequently lost 3-1 at Arsenal FC in the play-off round.

Team facts

• Scotland and Israel have met just once in senior international competition, with a Paul McStay goal giving Sir Alex Ferguson's side a 1-0 win at the National Stadium in Ramat Gan in a January 1986 friendly.

• Celtic's English manager Tony Mowbray has won two of his six away games in Europe since moving into coaching, losing the other four. The one-time Middlesbrough FC, Celtic and Ipswich Town FC defender formerly coached Ipswich, Hibernian FC and West Bromwich Albion FC.

• Tel-Aviv coach Eli Guttman is nicknamed 'The German' because of his reputation as a disciplinarian. He made his name by winning the 1996/97 State Cup with Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC and then the Israeli title with Hapoel Haifa FC in 1998/99.

• Tel-Aviv visit Hamburger SV on Matchday 2, while Celtic are at home against SK Rapid Wien on the same night, 1 October.