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Mr Fixit: Celtic 3-1 to survive Group of F-right.

Byline: by Paul Jain

CELTIC are massive underdogs to reach the Champions League knockout stages after being drawn Group F.

Martin O'Neill's men are expected to claim the UEFA Cup place for finishing third as AC Milan and Barcelona fight it out at the top.

Even fourth-ranked Shahktar Donetsk, who hammered Bruges in the qualifiers, are seen as tough opposition and Hill have taken cash on the Ukrainians to win the group.

Milan are a best 11-10 favourites with Hill but Barca, who finished last season superbly and have bought well in the summer, might be worth backing at 11-8 with BSq and Bet365.

Celtic are a biggest 12-1 with Chandler to finish top and Donetsk are also 28-1 with Ladbrokes.

To qualify Celtic are 3-1 with Hill and not to qualify you can have 2-9.

A measure of the task facing Celtic is the fact Ladbrokes make AC Milan 6-1 tournament favourites with Barcelona 8-1 behind Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Celtic have never lost a Champions League group game at home and they are 2-1 to stay undefeated this season.

On the other hand Celtic have never won away in the groups and Hill rate them 5-2 to lose all three this time.

All the talk, of course, has been about Henrik Larsson's return to Parkhead and the former Hoops hero is 25-1 with Hill to score first in both legs.

Before the draw Ladbrokes offered 5-1 on the two sides being paired and took some weighty bets.

Larsson was 9-1 to score in the Champions League at Parkhead but the odds have been slashed to 7-4.

Ladbrokes spokesman Robin Hutchison said: 'Henrik knows exactly where the nets are at Parkhead as we found out to our cost on too many occasions.

'He'll probably cost us a few quid again if we're not careful.

'Remarkably we've seen both sides of the Old Firm looking to have a bet on him before and after the draw for what must be the first time.

'Rangers fans are looking to get their revenge and Celtic fans have been backing him for old time's sake. The bet is a five-figure loser for us in the book.'

Paddy Power offer 100-1 on Larsson scoring an own goal in either game - now that would be Swede revenge.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 28, 2004
Words:383
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