Celtic v Ajax: Rogic bullish about progression chances


Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic remains hopeful the Scottish champions can reach the knockout stages of the Europa League as they prepare to take on Ajax at Parkhead.

Ronny Deila's men are bottom of Group A with just two points from four encounters following 2-2 draws with Ajax and Celtic and a pair of defeats at the hands of leaders Molde.

Anything other than a first victory of the group stage would see Celtic eliminated if Fenerbahce better their result at Molde. 

"We have to have the belief that we can win and can still go through in the group," Rogic told reporters. 

"It's a big opportunity. We're disappointed with the last couple of results but we're working hard to make sure we're as best prepared to go out and get the result we need. 

"We go into every game thinking we'll get a positive result and we especially want to do that at home.

"The last game was disappointing but it won't change our belief within the squad. We're looking forward to it."

Celtic have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last seven meetings with Ajax and are winless in their last nine Europa League games, drawing four and losing five.

One player who will feel confident heading into Thursday's encounter if gets the medical green light is Kris Commons, who has had a hand in five of Celtic's six Europa League goals this season.

Celtic will head into Thursday's crunch tie without Stefan Johansen and Nir Bitton, who are both suspended, while captain Scott Brown is doubtful after picking up a knock against Kilmarnock at the weekend.

Ajax, meanwhile, will have to make do without the services of South Africa international Thulani Serero, Riechedly Bazoer (both hamstring) and Daley Sinkgraven, who underwent knee surgery on Tuesday and will be out of action for the remainder of 2015.

Fran de Boer's men still have every chance of reaching the next round, but they cannot afford to spill points against Celtic if they are to keep up with second-placed Fenerbahce, who hold a two-point lead over the Amsterdammers.

Victory in Glasgow will not com easy, however, as Ajax have  been struggling to find their best form in Europe in 2015-16.

Ajax are winless in the Europa League this season, though three of their four games have ended level and they have failed to score in their last two European fixtures.

Additionally, the Dutch side have won just one of their previous visits to Glasgow to face Celtic, losing two of the other three.