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Udinese on high alert as Celtic visit

Udinese Calcio lead Celtic FC by three points as the sides meet on matchday six, but should the Italian team lose, the Bhoys would reach the round of 32 by virtue of their head-to-head record.

Udinese celebrate a Serie A goal
Udinese celebrate a Serie A goal ©Getty Images

Udinese Calcio will look to avoid UEFA Europa League disaster when they take on Celtic FC, the only side that can deny them a top-two finish in Group I.

• Udinese lead Celtic by three points but should the Italian outfit lose, the Bhoys would secure second place by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.

Previous meetings
• It was a tale of two penalties when the teams met on matchday two. Celtic got off to the perfect start as Ki Sung-Yong converted a third-minute spot kick, but Almen Abdi salvaged a draw for the Italian contenders by converting a similar effort on 88 minutes. It was Udinese's first game against a Scottish club.

• Celtic's 18 games against Italian sides have ended W5 D6 L7 (W0 D2 L6 in Italy).

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

Match background
• Udinese have won all four of their UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage home fixtures, having triumphed in both of their Stadio Friuli games (against Tottenham Hotspur FC and GNK Dinamo Zagreb) in 2008/09.

• 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.

• They lost 3-1 over 90 minutes at Sion, but were awarded a default 3-0 victory. That is the Hoops' only win in nine European away games, with three draws and five defeats included in that run. Their last European away victory from open play was a 2-0 at FC Dinamo Moskva in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Team facts
• Celtic winger Pat McCourt celebrates his 28th birthday the day after this game.

• 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.

• Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin spent the bulk of his playing days 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.

• 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 along with his manager − and countryman − Martin O'Neill, and winning five league titles.

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