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Celtic on their guard as Udinese visit

Udinese Calcio travel to Scotland to take on Celtic FC for the first time in UEFA competition hoping to build on their impressive 2-1 opening-night victory against Stade Rennais FC.

Antonio Di Natale scored in Udinese's opening-night victory against Rennes
Antonio Di Natale scored in Udinese's opening-night victory against Rennes ©Getty Images

Celtic FC will look to make up for a 2-0 opening-night defeat at Club Atlético de Madrid as they take on Udinese Calcio in UEFA Europa League Group I.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition, and this is Udinese's first experience of Scottish opponents.

• Celtic's 17 games against Italian sides have ended W5 D5 L7 (W4 D3 L1 in Glasgow). They have not lost in seven games against Serie A opponents at Celtic Park since their first Italian visitors, AC Milan, prevailed 1-0 in a European Champion Clubs' Cup quarter-final on 12 March 1969.

• The Hoops beat FC Internazionale Milano 2-1 in Lisbon in the 1966/67 European Cup final in their first meeting with an Italian club.

Match background
• Celtic reached the group stage despite a play-off defeat by FC Sion; the Swiss club were excluded from the competition for fielding ineligible players.

• Celtic have won their last four home games in Europe. Their home result immediately prior to that sequence was a 1-0 defeat by Hamburger SV in the UEFA Europa League group stage on 22 October 2009.

• Udinese have not won in five European away games (one draw, four defeats) since a 2-1 victory at FC Spartak Moskva in the UEFA Cup group stage on 6 November 2008.

Team facts
• Udinese full-back Joel Ekstrand and Celtic defender Daniel Majstorovic know each other from the Swedish national team. Ekstrand also played alongside Celtic legend Henrik Larsson in the striker's latter years with Helsingborgs IF.

• Celtic boss Neil Lennon was capped 40 times as a midfielder by Northern Ireland. Initially a trainee at Manchester City FC, he made his name with Leicester City FC before moving to Celtic FC along with his manager – and countryman – Martin O'Neill, and winning five league titles.

• Udinese boss Francesco Guidolin spent the bulk of his playing career with Hellas-Verona FC. His coaching career included a stint in France as AS Monaco FC boss in 2005/06, since then he has been in charge of US Città di Palermo and Parma FC, taking over for a second spell at Udinese in 2010.

• Udinese are one of five clubs Guidolin has led in Europe along with Vicenza Calcio, Bologna FC, Monaco and Palermo. He successfully guided Monaco through the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage but missed the cut with Palermo the following season.

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