Glasgow Celtic have qualified for the Europa League playoffs already with two games left to play in the group stage, but their current top spot is still under scrutiny when they face French Ligue 1 side Rennes on Thursday night. Celtic have won three of their last fixtures in Europa League after starting the campaign with a draw at Rennes in September. The most impressive feats have been the double defeating of Lazio, both home and away fixtures going for the Celtic by the score of 2-1. Lazio now has their back against the wall after losing three of four and they will have to win both remaining games while receiving assistance from Celtic by them beating Cluj in the final round. Rennes on the other hand, is out of the contest and have nothing to play for.
Celtic’s unbeaten form has been ongoing for eight games domestically and continentally. Winning eight in a row is nothing new for the Glasgow side, but beating a team like Lazio twice in that span certainly makes the effort more impressive than most. Sharing the domestic league top spot with Rangers, Celtic have only lost once all season while drawing another. They beat Rangers in the first old firm rivalry and therefore keep the top spot of the league.
While taking on Rennes is not the biggest of priorities to Neil Lennon and his troops, it is certain Celtic will want to win the group and avoid the more dominant sides of Europa League in the knockout stages. The likes of Sevilla, Manchester United and Basel are currently on top of their groups, so making things easier going forward is probably in Lennon’s interests.
In addition to Rennes’ struggles in Europa League, their start to the domestic campaign has been disappointing as well. They are currently 11th in Ligue 1, but only four points behind Europa League qualification spot at fourth. Rennes is likely to field a rotated squad with plenty of youngsters in their visit at Scotland and the hungry players should not be underestimated. Neil Lennon has also stated not to be resting any of his key starters in the game against Rennes, but look for some slight changes providing some playing time for those lacking match practice.