Win tonight and Celtic are guaranteed European group stage football of some description this season, which will be worth in the region of £10m, with the possibility of this rising significantly, should they subsequently beat Slavia Prague.
Around 50% of our income is determined this month; we are either a £100m club, or a £50m club. How best to mitigate the downside of these variables is open to debate, but it is clear our competitive environment involves significant risk. Group stage participation of any sort, with the added benefits of more testing games and Uefa coefficient points is crucial to the club.
Cluj manager, Dan Petrescu, will be inspired by the goal his team scored against Celtic six days ago, when they counter-attacked from a Celtic corner. Playing on the break is a default position for many away from home in Europe, but Neil Lennon can be sure this what to expect tonight.
Celtic will have a more recognisable shape if Mikey Johnston and Hatem Abd Elhamed are fit. Elhamed will liberate Kris Ajer for central defensive duties, while we might see (fully fit) Jozo Simunovic replace (still getting fit) Christopher Jullien.
Johnston is an absolute handful at the moment and could be crucial to the outcome. Defenders often double up on him, creating space and opportunity elsewhere. Boli Bolingoli also carries a particular burden, being the only left back at the club right now and on a yellow card. We can scarcely afford to lose him ahead of next week’s playoff round.