Celtic’s unprecedented run to the Champions League has been one of the biggest stories of the year but not everyone is excited for the same reason. Second place Inverness is hopeful that Celtic’s Champions League run will take their focus off matters at home and allow them to make up ground in the Scottish Premier League table.
Inverness manager Terry Butcher thinks that the competitive pressure of Celtic’s Champions League challenge–starting with their round of 16 matchup with Juventus–can only help his team:
“It’s always the question: ‘Is it a good time to play Celtic or a bad time?’
“I hope they’ve got one eye on Europe. Perhaps they may be a little bit focussed on the Juventus game, I certainly hope so. They’ve got good quality and have players who will be desperate to get into the side that plays in the Juventus match. Whatever team Neil selects, they’ll be trying like mad to hold that position down for the European match.”
Inverness is currently on a three game losing streak heading in to the big matchup against Celtic. Still, manager Butcher is hopeful:
“We’ve beaten them at their place which was a fantastic result and performance. However, they have also beaten us comprehensively in the first game.
“It was not great losing 4-2 and being 4-0 down at home in front of all the TV cameras. The last few visits they’ve done pretty well at the Caledonia Stadium. Since we beat them at home a few years ago, they have smashed us after that. I think they’ll be looking for revenge after we beat them down there. The fact we’re second in the table also comes into play as they will want to open up the gap even more.”
The betting marketplace isn’t quite as confident in Inverness’ prospects as their manager. Bet 365 has Celtic installed as a -188 betting favorite. Takeback on Inverness is +450 with a draw priced at +333. Ironically, those prices are similar to Celtic’s prices against Juventus–the Italy Serie A powerhouse is installed as a -150 betting favorite in their Champions League tilt. Celtic is a +350 underdog with a regulation draw priced at +250.