Anderlecht manager Hein Vanhaezebrouck expects Celtic to make a “devastating” start in their Champions League encounter, with the Belgian outfit facing a tall order to qualify for the Europa League.
Brendan Rodgers’ side go into the final Champions League Group B meeting with a three-point cushion over their Belgian counterparts and must avoid defeat by three goals or more.
Vanhaezebrouck, who was not in charge of the Belgian champions when Celtic won 3-0 when the sides met in the reverse fixture, is pessimistic about his side’s chances, saying they will “need all the luck in the world”.
“It’s not important to score very quickly, not important at all,” Vanhaezebrouck said. “For us, the ultimate thing is to score three times more than Celtic. The timing of the first goal isn’t important at all.
“We can score halfway through the second half and still go for it. You can say we’re going to try to score in the first five minutes – and then you lose a goal in the first five minutes and it will be doubly hard.”
Vanhaezebrouck, who led Gent to a memorable victory over Tottenham in the Europa League last season, is well aware of the challenges his side face when they come up against the Scottish league leaders.
“I can already predict what’s going to happen. There will be noise as soon as we come on the pitch. The crowd will be behind them – and they will fly like hell.
“So we are going to have to be ready because the start will be possibly devastating. If we can survive and stay level, then maybe we have a chance to do something.
“But to overcome the three-goal difference to continue, everything has to be perfect and we also need all the luck in the world. So the chances are really, really small. But that’s not our main goal.
“I can’t go and tell the team we need to win by three goals. We have to be realistic. Aim for a win, a draw even would be a good result. Winning would be fantastic.”