Celtic v Spartak Moscow: three key battles

Celtic's Nigerian star Efe Ambrose. Photo: PA

Celtic take on Spartak Moscow in their Champions League Group G decider at Parkhead tonight. Here, we look at the players who could influence the crunch match in Glasgow.


Ambrose has settled in well at Celtic Park joining the Scottish champions from Israeli club FC Ashdod in the summer. The Nigeria international, who can also play in midfield, is comfortable on the ball and comes forward with ease but, along with fellow centre-back Kelvin Wilson, he will have to concentrate on stifling the threat of fellow countryman Emenike, who scored twice when Celtic won 3-2 in the Luzhniki Stadium in October. The pacey striker recently signed a four-year deal with Spartak to remain in Moscow until 2016. Emenike also scored in the 4-2 home defeat to Zenit St Petersburg on Friday night to remind the Hoops of his threat.


The Celtic skipper has cancelled an operation on an ongoing hip problem which has dogged his season and claims he is ready to play the whole 90 minutes against Spartak. Hoops manager Neil Lennon can bank on endless enthusiasm and drive from the Scotland midfielder, whose influence permeates the whole side. Kallstrom, though, has a fine pedigree and was voted Swedish midfielder of the year recently by his country's football association. The 30-year-old has a wonderful left foot which could trouble the home defence at set-pieces.


If Celtic are to get the win they desire then it is likely it will be with the help of Hooper. The Englishman proved his growing maturity with an impressive display in the Luzhniki Stadium when he scored to give the visitors the lead. Just as significantly in that game, Spartak went down to 10 men after going 2-1 ahead when Insaurralde's pull on the Parkhead striker eventually resulted in a red card for the Argentinian defender. The battle between these two men will be just as crucial tomorrow night.