Sport Zenit St Petersburg: A factfile of Celtic's opponents

19:15  13 february  2018
19:15  13 february  2018 Source:   Read Sport

Team news: Zenit St Petersburg vs Celtic

  Team news: Zenit St Petersburg vs Celtic Celtic will be looking to progress to the last-16 of the Europa League when they travel to face Zenit St Petersburg in the second leg on Thursday. After an impressive performance and win over Zenit, the Scottish champions laboured to their seventh domestic draw of the season, although moved one point further clear at the top of the table. Roberto Mancini’s side won’t play a domestic game again until next month and have been preparing for the last week ahead of the 6pm kick-off. The winner will progress to the last-16 draw, which will take place on Friday 23 February at 12pm. Celtic Scott Brown will return to the team following his one-game domestic ban. Patrick Roberts is closer to a comeback after getting the go ahead from his parent club to return to action from a hamstring problem. Stuart Armstrong is still out of action after undergoing a hernia operation along with Dedryck Boyata, who is out of action until March with a groin injury. Leigh Griffiths and Marvin Compper are both out with calf injuries and have no known return date. Nir Bitton, Craig Gordon and Michael Johnston will likely be out of action for the remainder of the season with a knee and thigh injury, respectively. Long-term absentee Jonny Hayes is out with a broken leg. Zenit St Petersburg The Russian side have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game and have a fully fit squad.

Managed by Roberto Mancini, Zenit will be an exciting opponent for Celtic who have a chance to test themselves against some strong continental opposition. But just who are Zenit St Petersburg ?

Zenit : Fans had plenty to celebrate during the group stage. PA. Celtic have been drawn against Zenit St Petersburg in the last 32 of the Europa League and face a side who scored more than any other in the competition' s group stage.

Celtic’s European adventure continues on Thursday night as the Hoops host Zenit St Petersburg in the last-32 of the Europa League. Brendan Rodgers’ side narrowly beat Partick Thistle 3-2 in the Scottish Cup to progress to the quarter-final. The Bhoys’ opponents though, haven’t played a competitive fixture since early December due to the Russian Premier League winter break. However, Zenit have played eight friendly matches in that time period, losing just one of those games.


Founded in 1925, Zenit St Petersburg finished winners of their Europa League group and qualified for the knockout stages without losing a single group game. Zenit, who have won Russian league championship five times, play in the Krestovsky Stadium (commonly known as the Zenit Arena) which was opened last year and will host seven World Cup fixtures this summer. Zenit currently sit second in the Russian Premier League, eight points behind Lokomotiv Moscow. They are managed by a familiar name in Roberto Mancini, who has been in charge of the Russian side since the start of this season.

Russian legend criticises Celtic's overly-aggressive style

  Russian legend criticises Celtic's overly-aggressive style Former Soviet Union international turned legendary manager Anatoliy Byshovets has criticised Celtic’s style of play following their 1-0 victory over Zenit Saint Petersburg. Byshovets, who had a brief spell in charge of Zenit in the mid-90’s, said that Celtic’s style will be their downfall in the second leg. As reported by the Daily Record, he said: “Celtic will play exactly the same tactics – football supported by martial arts. Zenit will have to take their time and exploit the space. In the first match, they were not ready.” There were ten bookings in the first leg clash between the two sides and with the atmosphere set to be hostile in Russia, there’s a big chance that the return leg could be overly physical. Byshovets thinks that the Russian side will prevail as he doesn’t think Celtic’s defence will be able to keep Zenit at bay for a second successive game. “I don’t see Celtic being able to hold onto their advantage because I don’t believe they will be able to stop Zenit again. Celtic will have taken a lot out of their win in the first leg and will be positive, but I think Zenit will score enough to get through.

Zenit St Petersburg have made a 12 million bid for Brazilian international defender Rodrigo Caio ahead of their Europa League showdown with Celtic . And they are closing in on Sao Paulo stopper Caio, who would be eligible to play against the Hoops in the Last 32 tie next month.

CELTIC have been drawn against Zenit St Petersburg in today’ s Europa League draw. The Hoops now face a trip to Russia as they begin their journey against ex-Man City manager Roberto Mancini’ s side.

European Pedigree

Zenit St Petersburg are regular participants in European competition, but were knocked out of last season’s Europa League by Anderlecht who dumped out the Russians on away goals at the last-32 stage. This campaign though has seen the side from St Petersburg ease to group victory, seeing them through to the latter rounds of another European competition for the eighth successive season.

Similarly to Celtic, Zenit started their European season earlier than usual playing two qualifying rounds to make it to the Europa League group stages. In a group consisting of of FK Varder, Real Sociedad and Rosenborg, the Russians scored in every group game with the only blemish on a perfect six wins out of six being a 1-1 draw in Norway.

Ntcham: Attack will be our best form of defence against Zenit

  Ntcham: Attack will be our best form of defence against Zenit Celtic’s Oliver Ntcham says that if he was in charge of the team going into the second-leg of his side’s Europa League tie with Zenit St Petersburg, he’d set the team up to attack the Russians. Celtic will travel to Russia knowing that a clean sheet will be enough to see them reach the Last 16 of the competition, but Ntcham thinks it would be dangerous for his side to play too defensively, as they are not used to playing in that manner. He said: “It is up to the manager how we play in the second leg, that’s always the way, but if I was the coach, I’d say we should play the way we always play. We always try to score goals and that is our way. We don’t just have to try and stay in behind and defend for the whole second leg waiting until the game is finished. My thinking is that it is best to play our own way, like we are used to doing.” Domestically, Celtic are often the team who opponents try to ‘park the bus’ against, so they are used to playing in an attacking manner on the front foot, and Ntcham believes that it would be risky to ask the players to completely change how they play for one game. Added to that, if Celtic can get a goal on Thursday, Zenit will need to score three times to qualify, so it would make sense for the Scottish champions to offer some semblance of an attacking threat.

[ 13th December 2017 ] Zenit Won’t Lose Fitness – Brendan Rodgers Cautions Celtic Over Russian Side’s Break Celtic . Paris Saint -Germain: A factfile of Celtic ’ s Opponents .

Zenit St Petersburg ' s fans displayed a banner saying war criminal 'Ratko Mladic is a hero' during their group stage clash with Macedonian side FK Vardar. CELTIC will play Zenit St Petersburg in a partially closed stadium when they travel to Russia.

Emanuel Mammana with a football ball on a field: Epsilon/Getty Images Sport © Epsilon/Getty Images Sport Epsilon/Getty Images Sport

Out with this season’s campaign, Zenit St Petersburg have had a habit of reaching knockout stage football, but have only progressed from the last-16 once in any European competition in eight years. However the Russians do boast one European trophy which was won in 2008. They overcame 10 teams on their way to Manchester that year, beating Rangers 2-0 in the final.

Celtic though have never played Zenit St Petersburg but have faced Russian opposition six other times, winning three and only losing one of those encounters.

Danger Men

When it comes to danger men, Zenit St Petersburg have a plethora of talent amongst their ranks, but they do have a few marquee stars which Celtic will have to keep an eye on when the two sides meet each other.

Epsilon/Getty Images Sport © Epsilon/Getty Images Sport Epsilon/Getty Images Sport

Aleksandr Kokorin is Zenit’s biggest threat up top and could potentially cause the Celtic defence havoc if he isn’t marked well on Thursday night. The Russian striker has been one of Zenit’s most influential players this season, scoring an impressive 10 goals in 20 league appearances for Zenit. However, his goalscoring prowess is even better in European competition, with Kokorin netting eight goals in nine European matches this season.

Goalkeeper Liam Hughes joins Celtic's academy

  Goalkeeper Liam Hughes joins Celtic's academy Celtic have agreed a deal with NIFL Premiership side Dungannon Swifts that sees teenager goalkeeper Liam Hughes join the club’s academy set up. Twitter: LIAM HUGHES Academy Staff and players are delighted to welcome goalkeeper Liam on his recent signing from Dungannon… (@CelticFCAcademy) The 16-year-old has already played for the Dungannon Swifts first-team in the NIFL Premiership at such a young age and it was there where Celtic scouts first identified him. Hughes follows in the footsteps of Conor Hazard, who signed from Cliftonville, and he’ll be hoping to work his way up the ranks, just as Hazard seems to be doing. The U17 international will join the Celtic development set up and will look to continue to improve to a point where, some time in the future, he’s competing to be the club’s number one.

Just like Celtic , Zenit like to defeat opponents by dominating possession of the football. READ MORE – Best Twitter reactions to Celtic drawing Zenit St Petersburg .

CELTIC will play Zenit St Petersburg in a partially closed stadium when they travel to Russia. Zenit St Petersburg play in the Russian Premier League and have won the title five times. They are managed by former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini.

While the Hoops backline have to be wary of Kokorin, they will certainly need to be focussed on stopping Argentine winger, Emiliano Rigoni. Rigoni who initially didn’t feature as much under Roberto Mancini, has been a mainstay in recent games and has been one of the more creative players in the Zenit side. He too possess an impressive scoring record in the Europa League this season having scored six goals in six appearances. His trickery and overall technique on the ball is an area where Celtic should pay attention to on Thursday.

a group of young men playing a game of football: Epsilon/Getty Images Sport © Epsilon/Getty Images Sport Epsilon/Getty Images Sport

With Celtic’s long-standing issue dealing with set pieces, the Hoops should be extra wary of former Chelsea player Branislav Ivanovic on Thursday night, should he play. The Serbian, has a knack of popping up with headed goals and could be a real issue to deal with if he does feature. While Zenit have many creative players in their side, they are a very physical side and could play this way when they play the Hoops, which may cause concern for Brendan Rodgers.

Where the match may be won or lost

Zenit couldn't cope with Celtic Park atmosphere says Mammana

  Zenit couldn't cope with Celtic Park atmosphere says Mammana Zenit St Petersburg defender Emanuel Mammana has revealed how the Russian side struggled to come to terms with the atmosphere at Celtic Park. According to a report from the Evening Times, Mammana explained how the pressure got the better of them during the first leg of the tie. “It was a very difficult match for us. There were several reasons for this – not least because of the pressure we were under in their stadium. Now we have to work hard in Rome and make up for our display this week.” “We have watched the video against Celtic. Right from the start of the game, we made mistakes and Celtic put us under pressure.” Callum McGregor scored a late goal to give Brendan Rodgers’ men the advantage going into the second leg. Despite being overriding favourites to go through, Zenit were unable to stamp a mark on the game in Scotland. The report suggests that the result did not go down well in Russia, with a lot expected of Zenit in the second leg. The two sides meet in Russia on Thursday night with plenty left to play for. Roberto Mancini’s men have prepared for the game by enduring a training camp in Rome ahead of the crucial Europa League clash.

Celtic ' s Europa League opponents Zenit St Petersburg have incurred UEFA's wrath once again - this time after crowd trouble at a match against Real Celtic ’ s lack of transfer business ahead of Zenit St Petersburg is a MYSTERY says Davie Provan. Hoops fans, are you worried by the lack of signings?

Profiling Zenit Saint Petersburg – Celtic ’ s Last 32 Europa League Opponents . With Celtic making St .Mirren youngster Lewis Morgan their second signing of the January transfer window, we caught up with journalist

It’s another one of those European nights, but under Brendan Rodgers special nights have been a rarity under the Celtic boss at home. If anything it’s worrying that the Hoops don’t play to their full potential under the lights on a European night. Celtic teams in the past have lived up to the expectation of performing well on a European night and they have done so with success.

However, with something big to play for on the line, Celtic should take the game to Zenit for the first 10 minutes or so. Those opening minutes it would appear are so crucial for Celtic to get off to a good start, particularly in Europe.

a group of men playing a game of tennis: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport © Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport

Good starts in past matches at home to Astana, Manchester City, Bayern Munich in European matches and most recently Hearts and Partick Thistle – set the tone and give Celtic that extra boost they need for the rest of the game. However, lapses in concentration like Saturday can’t happen when you play against as side with better quality. Zenit will punish Celtic if they do.

If anything a clean sheet is so important in two-legged tie in Europe. With Dedryck Boyata and Craig Gordon missing, it is vital for the replacement players to be switched on from first whistle to last. There is no doubt the quality that Zenit posses is much greater than Celtic but it is so critical for Bhoys to not lose an early goal. If they do then it’s an uphill task for Celtic to get back into the tie.

Kanchelskis claims there is trouble in Zenit ranks

  Kanchelskis claims there is trouble in Zenit ranks As revealed by the Daily Record, former Rangers player Andrei Kanchelskis has accused the Zenit St Petersburg team of arguing with each other instead of focusing on the football after the Russians were defeated 1-0 in Glasgow. A Callum McGregor goal finally gave the hosts the lead they deserved after a dominant display as the Hoops take a slender advantage away to the second leg. Kanchelskis believes that the lack of game time for the Zenit team was not the problem when they faced Celtic but he claims it was the unrest amongst the players and a bad atmosphere in the dressing room. With a total of five Argentina internationals in Roberto Mancini’s squad, the ex-Ibrox man says it’s the bad mix of Russians and Argentines that is affecting the harmony in the team. “If the players are fighting in the dressing room, then what kind of atmosphere will that produce on the pitch?” “There is a bad atmosphere around the team. When you put a load of Argentines in with Russians, this is what happens.” “I think there are big problems at Zenit. Everyone knows about the bad atmosphere around the team.” He also suggested that Celtic can only play “simple” football and will find it tough in Russia on Thursday. Despite a successful night at Parkhead, Brendan Rodgers’ side will know they will face a different Zenit team in St.Petersburg. Ahead of the game the Russians have been in Rome for a training camp and will look to show their improved fitness and cause Celtic more problems with their attacking talent in the return leg.

CELTIC learned of their fate in the Europa League on Monday when they were pulled out of the hat alongside Zenit St Petersburg . Read more: Celtic opponents in the Europa League Zenit have been forced to close part of their stadium as punishment for "racist behavior".

ZENIT ST PETERSBURG look set to be hit with a massive blow with ex-Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic losing his fitness fight to face Celtic .

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport © Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport

Of course the good news is that Brendan Rodgers does have a good few selection headaches as to what team he plays on Thursday. It would appear that Moussa Dembele will play up top but it is who accompanies behind him which could cause some interest. Zenit’s physicality will be relished by players like Scott Brown and Kieran Tierney but whoever supports Dembele up top has to be willing to track back and play to this physical match the Hoops will face in middle of the park.

While Charly Musonda hasn’t really ignited his Celtic career so far, he could be given the chance to feature on Thursday. If you remember a few years ago both Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong made their European debut at home to Inter Milan and were both brilliant on the night. A similar berth could happen on Thursday night.

a man holding his hands up: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport © Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport

As usual the crowd have a major part to play on Thursday. For the team’s chances it is vital that the support sticks with the side for the full 90 minutes. The supporters are what really drives the team on to play that extra 10% and they will need this when the two sides meet.

Celtic have to make the home advantage count and really force Zenit St Petersburg onto the back foot as much as possible early on. Being passive will only lead to the inevitable. The Russians haven’t played a competitive game in over two months and they could feel the pressure early on.

a large crowd of people: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images Sport © Mark Runnacles/Getty Images Sport Mark Runnacles/Getty Images Sport

Since the end of the Champions League group stages, all the preparation has been building towards this all-important clash. A scoreless draw is a better outcome than an end-to-end goalfest, leaving us with an uphill task in the return leg next week.  Celtic have to perform on Thursday night and make Paradise the intimidating fortress as it once was.

FC Zenit Saint Petersburg vs FC Tosno - Russian Premier League © Epsilon/Getty Images Sport FC Zenit Saint Petersburg vs FC Tosno - Russian Premier League

Team news: Celtic v Zenit St Petersburg .
Celtic return to the knockout stages of the Europa League on Thursday for the first time since 2015 when they take on Zenit St Petersburg. Brendan Rodgers, fresh off his sides win over Partick Thistle at the weekend, will take charge of his first European knock-out tie for the Hoops in the 8:05pm kick-off. The Russian side haven’t played a competitive game since December and currently sit second in the league table, eight points behind leaders Lokomotiv Moscow. Over their winter break Roberto Mancini’s side have played six friendlies, winning five of them. The two managers have met 11 times during their time in England, winning five games each and drawing once. Celtic Tom Rogic won’t be fit to start on Thursday and is unlikely to play any role in the game but will return to action within the next week. Patrick Roberts and Stuart Armstrong are still out of action along with Dedryck Boyata who is out of action until March with a groin injury. Anthony Ralston played his first competitive game last week for the u20’s and is closer to returning to action for the first-team. Leigh Griffiths and Marvin Compper are both out with calf injuries and have no known return date. Craig Gordon and Michael Johnston could be out of action for the remainder of the season with a knee and thigh injury, respectively. Long-term absentee Jonny Hayes is out with a broken leg. Zenit St Petersburg Branislav Ivanovic is dealing with an eye injury and could miss the first leg clash in Glasgow.


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