Celtic are dreaming of making progress in the Champions League after avoiding most of the big hitters in the group stage draw.
The Hoops landed in Group E alongside Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid and Lazio, and they will fancy their chances of reaching the last-16.
Their sizeable fanbase will generate an intimidating atmosphere at home, while supporters from Scotland and Ireland are expected to travel in large numbers to the three away games.
While Celtic will be pleased to have avoided Manchester, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and other big clubs, most football punters are unlikely to wager on them making progress.
That point is hammered home to perfection by the best Irish betting sites, who rank Celtic as the outsiders to claim top spot in the group.
Atletico are the bookmakers’ favourites at 8/13, with Lazio next in the market at 3/1. Feyenoord, who are the top seeds in the group, can be backed at 6/1.
Odds of 9/1 for Celtic to win Group E perfectly highlight the size of the task facing the Scottish Premiership champions in UEFA’s top club competition.
Atletico are worthy favourites to win the group after finishing third behind Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga last season.
Lazio will also expect to qualify given the strength of their squad, while Eredivisie champions Feyenoord will be no pushovers.
When you consider that Rangers were beaten 7-3 on aggregate by Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in the playoffs, Celtic have a massive job on their hands.
However, Celtic star Gustaf Lagerbielke is looking forward to the Champions League and says the team are fully focused on progressing to the last-16.
“It’s an exciting group and six difficult games, but it’s a fun challenge and experience and we aim to get through to the next stages,” Lagerbielke said.
“One of the reasons for signing was, of course, the Champions League. Every young kid dreams of playing in the Champions League and now I will get the chance, which is nice.”
Celtic returned to the Champions League group stage last season after a four-year absence but took just two points from six games against Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk.
However, with that experience under the belt and manager Brendan Rodgers eager to make his mark in Europe, the Hoops could upset the odds this time around.
Celtic are a best-priced 11/4 to qualify for the next phase of the Champions League and those odds may tempt savvy punters looking for a bit of value.
With Parkhead guaranteed to be packed to the rafters with local fans, and supporters’ clubs running trips from Ireland for each of the games, the atmosphere will be electric.
Three wins out of three on home soil would be the ideal for scenario for Celtic, and any points they can pick up on the road would be a bonus.
Lagerbielke has backed the fans to be the team’s 12th man and believes Celtic could deliver a winning return for football bettors l if they produce their best form.
“I think with the Champions League, all the groups are going to be good,” Lagerbielke added. “Every team is good but the main experience is playing here at Paradise on European nights so the draw is just fun.
“Every group is tough and this group is really tough and I’m looking forward to the challenge. With the fans backing us and the atmosphere that can be created, we have a high chance of winning at home and hopefully, we can use that to our advantage and get some victories.”