The Scottish champions begin their journey towards the group stage of the competition with the first of their qualifying ties
Celtic get their Champions League campaign underway for 2018-19 when they take on Armenian champions Alashkert in the first leg of their first qualifying round on Tuesday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side face a much more arduous path towards the group stage of the competition this season, with four potentially hazardous qualifying rounds to navigate.
As such, they will be eager to hit the ground running by securing a positive result away from home in Yerevan, in order to put themselves in a strong position for the return leg in Glasgow.
The winner of the tie will progress to the second qualifying round, where either Iceland’s Valur or Norway’s Rosenborg await.
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US) the game will be not be shown live on television, but it will be available to stream live online via Celtic’s in-house TV channel, Celtic TV.
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on Premier Sports or streamed live online using the Premier Player.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports||Premier Player|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Avagyan, Cancarevic, Petrosyan|
|Defenders||Voskanyan, Zeljkovic, Stojkovic, Antonic, Daghbashyan, Artak Yedigaryan, Praznovsky, Alan|
|Midfielders||Dashyan, Shahinyan, Sekulic, Simonyan, Jefferson, Artur Yedigaryan, Grigoryan, Odailson|
|Forwards||Manasyan, Nenadovic, Romero Jr.|
Alashkert boss Varuzhan Sukiasyan will be able to call upon a host of current and Armenia internationals, with the likes of defender Taron Voskanyan and captain Artur Yedigaryan bringing plenty of experience to the spine of the team. Brazilian forward Jefferson and American winger Cesar Romero Jr. will be pushing for inclusion in the starting XI, with Miran Manasyan likely to lead the attack.
Potential Alashkert XI: Cancarevic; Voskanyan, Artak Yedigaryan, Stojkovic, Zeljkovic; Artur Yedigaryan, Dashyan, Simonyan, Nenadovic, Jefferson; Manasyan.
|Goalkeepers||Gordon, Bain, Hazard|
|Defenders||J. Hendry, Simunovic, Gamboa, Compper, Boyata, Lustig, Ajer, Tierney, Church, Duffy, Deas, McInroy, Ralston, Welsh, Bell|
|Midfielders||Brown, Sinclair, Morgan, Rogic, Allan, Ntcham, Robertson, McGregor, Forrest, Kennedy, Henderson, McLaughlin, McKay, Marku, Eboue|
|Forwards||Griffiths, Dembele, Hayes, Christie, Edouard, Miller, Hill, McGrath, R. Hendry, Diver, Johnston, Savoury, Aitchison|
Celtic will be without Dedryk Boyata, who is still at the World Cup with Belgium, while Mikael Lustig, Cristian Gamboa and Tom Rogic will also be unavailable after their exploits in Russia with Sweden, Costa Rica and Australia respectively.
Leigh Griffiths and Marvin Compper missed the Bhoys’ friendly game against Shamrock Rovers over the weekend and there are major doubts over their availability for the game. The fitness of Scott Brown has been a concern, but the captain is set to be available.
Potential Celtic XI: Gordon; Tierney, Simunovic, Hendry, Ajer; Brown, Ntcham, McGregor, Sinclair, Edouard; Dembele.
Betting & Match Odds
Celtic are the away team but they are heavy favourites to win in Armenia, with dabblebet offering odds of 1/3 on a Bhoys victory. The hosts’ chances of winning are rated at 8/1 and a draw is available at 7/2.
The group stage of the Champions League doesn’t get started until the middle of September, but Celtic begin their continental journey on Tuesday when they head to the Armenian capital Yerevan.
Rodgers has had to prepare for the game without a number of key players, with the likes of Boyata, Gamboa and Rogic all unavailable due to their participation in the World Cup, but the Scottish champions have had plenty of on-field tests during pre-season against opposition from the Czech Republic and Ireland, with wins over the likes of Sparta Prague and Shamrock Rovers under their belts.
“We go into the game at the best possible level we could be at at this stage of the season,” Rodgers told the Times following his side’s 7-0 win over Shamrock Rovers on Saturday.
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“It’s obviously going to be challenging conditions [in Yerevan], but at this stage at this season we couldn’t be physically any better prepared.”
In the last three seasons in Europe, Alashkert have lost at home just once – a 3-1 defeat to BATE Borisov last term – and they will take confidence from the fact that they have already beaten Scottish opposition, having knocked St Johnstone out of the Europa League in 2015.
Celtic will be all too aware of those pitfalls, however, and they will be keen avoid falling behind ahead of the second leg at Celtic Park next Wednesday.