Five talking points ahead of Celtic v Salzburg in Europa League

Celtic take on Salzburg in their final Europa League Group B game at Parkhead on Thursday night.

Celtic should be boosted by the return of Kieran Tierney. Picture: SNS
Celtic should be boosted by the return of Kieran Tierney. Picture: SNS

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The Austrian side have won all five games in the section and are already qualified while Brendan Rodgers’ side need a point to make sure they join them in the knockout stages.

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Here, Angus Wright looks at five talking points ahead of the game.

Celtic should be boosted by the return of Kieran Tierney. Picture: SNS

Boost as Kieran Tierney returns

The Scotland international missed the 5-1 home win over Kilmarnock at the weekend with a groin issue.

Tierney, however, has recovered and will be back in his usual left-back position on Thursday night.

He opened the scoring in the 2-1 home win over RB Leipzig in November which brought Celtic back into the reckoning in the section and he will be key in both defence and attack as the Scottish champions look to book their place in the knockout stages.

A place for captain Scott Brown?

Rodgers said he had “no room for sentimentality,” after his captain started on the bench against Kilmarnock at the weekend, coming on as a second-half substitute.

The veteran midfielder recently recovered from injury but has not regained the automatic place he has enjoyed for most of his 11-year career at Parkhead.

Will Rodgers bring him back for the visit of a powerful Salzburg side? And if he does, where does he move Callum McGregor, who has arguably been the Hoops best player this season.

How will Salzburg approach it?

Salzburg have won all five section games and are already qualified as Group B winners

The noises from the Austrian’s camp have been positive in terms of them wanting the win the match but given that this is the one match they can relax in, even subconsciously, what will be their mind-set going into the game?

Another big European night at Celtic Park

There will be around 60,000 fans inside Celtic Park for another big European night.

Over the years some of the biggest clubs in Europe such as Barcelona, Manchester United and AC Milan have faltered in the east end of Glasgow while others like Paris St Germain have thrived in the atmosphere.

Rodgers spoke of a “wall of noise” and “a huge advantage when we play at home” and one thing is certain, the Hoops supporters again will be doing their best to give their side that extra lift they will require to get a positive result.

Can Celtic get the point they need?

Salzburg are unbeaten in 29 games in all competitions this season albeit they needed a later leveller from Hannes Wolf against Admira Wacker at the weekend to keep that record intact.

Marco Rose’s side comfortably beat Celtic 3-1 when they met in Austria in October.

The Hoops have improved markedly since then and are unbeaten in 10 matches and, if they strike top form like they did against Killie at the weekend, then they might just have enough to see European football at Celtic Park after Christmas.