December 8, 2021

Sparta Prague vs Celtic preview: No Griffiths

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Team news and stats ahead of Sparta Prague vs Celtic in the Europa League group stage on Thursday; kick-off 5.55pm.

Team news

Celtic will be without Leigh Griffiths in the Czech Republic due to a knee injury but able call on fit-again defenders Christopher Jullien and Hatem Elhamed.

Celtic were beaten 4-1 by Sparta Prague earlier in the month to leave them with one point from three group games and Neil Lennon – who insisted he would not buckle under pressure despite scrutiny of his position – knows the return fixture is crucial.

He said: “We have to win tomorrow to stand any chance of qualifying. So that is our sole focus now, going to Prague and trying to win the game.

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Neil Lennon admits Celtic are going through a sticky patch but called for ‘a sense of perspective’ amid the growing scrutiny surrounding his position as manager.

“In the first game here, it was probably as disappointing as we have been for a while so it is important that we motivate ourselves to correct that.”

Sparta Prague could be without five players through injury, including defender David Hancko and midfielder Michal Sacek, who both played in the first meeting between the sides.

How to follow

Follow Sparta Prague vs Celtic with our dedicated live blog across Sky Sports’ digital platforms, plus analysis and reaction after full time.

Opta stats

  • Sparta Prague beat Celtic 4-1 at Celtic Park last time out in what was the very first meeting between the two sides.
  • Celtic have now lost consecutive matches against Czech opposition having been also been beaten by FK Teplice in March 2004, in what was their last away game against Czech opponents.
  • Sparta Prague are looking to win consecutive Europa League matches for the first time since a run of four between September/November 2016.
  • Celtic’s 1-4 defeat at the hands of Sparta Prague last time out was their worst home defeat in European competition since PSG defeated them 5-0 at Celtic Park in September 2017.
  • Lukas Julis scored a hat-trick for Sparta Prague in the reverse fixture, doubling his UEFA Europa League goal tally having scored only three times in his previous 19 appearances in the competition.