Celtic face their biggest game of the season so far when they play Salzburg tomorrow night, according to former striker Chris Sutton.
A win for Ronny Deila’s team will guarantee a place in the next round of the Europa League but Sutton is expecting a very tricky fixture.
Sutton was speaking on behalf of BT Sport and will be part of the presenting team on Thursday, and said exclusively to GiveMeSport: “I think it will be the toughest test they’ve had all season.
“I think this (Salzburg) side are superior to Legia Warsaw who beat Celtic convincingly in the Champions League qualifiers.”
The two teams drew 2-2 when they met in September but the Glaswegian side dropped crucial points against Astra last time out to hand the initiative to Salzburg.
The Austrian side have already qualified from the group but Sutton does not expect them to take Thursday’s fixture lightly.
“They will not come with a weakened side. They will come to try and win the game, certainly not lose the game because finishing top of the Europa group makes it easier with the draw in the knockout stage.”
Spanish striker Jonathan Soriano has been singled out as Salzburg’s biggest threat, the former Barcelona B man has an impressive 77 goals in just 87 appearances for the club and scored in the reverse fixture earlier on in the season.
Sutton added: “They have won 11 out of the last 13 and they have goals in the team. The likes of Soriano, he’s scored 17 this season already at more than a goal a game and they have other guys like the Brazilian Alan (Carvalho), (Massimo) Bruno, (Marcel) Sabitzer the young Austrian kid.
“They are a massive threat I think that it’s going to be tough for Celtic.”
Last game in Croatia
A bad result for Celtic will give Dinamo Zagreb the opportunity to qualify should they beat Astra Giurgiu in the other match of the group. Sutton, who scored 63 goals for the Hoops during his six years with the club, hopes his old club won’t need to get a result in Croatia.
“I think it is also going to be tough for Celtic if they have to go into the last game going over to Croatia needing to get the draw to go through, that would be tough.
“One thing Celtic can’t do is be open and expansive against this Salzburg side because if they do they could be in for a real sore night.”
BT Sport has live coverage of UEFA Europa League games throughout the group stages and beyond, as well live coverage of 4 SPFL games before the end of December including Dundee Utd v Celtic (5th Dec). Visit BT Sport.com for more information.