By Aidan Elder | Chief sports writer
‘Miracles can happen. Miracles do happen, Mircales will happen’.
If that’s the message Celtic fans are repeating incessantly to themselves in the hope of it eventually coming true, it’s not working on the wider public with Juventus attracting the Rick Waller sized shared of the bets. If you can’t tell from the glazed look on the eyes of the Sky Sports News reporter who are contractually obliged to convince themselves that this one is still up for grabs, it’s going to take something incredible for the Scottish champions to go through. It is the competition in which Djimi Traore has a winners’ medal, but this might be asking too much.
Having out Wrestlemania-ed the Bhoys at Celtic Park, the Old Lady is the overwhelming 1/500 favourites to progress to the quarter-finals and punters don’t much fancy Celtic’s chances of getting an inconsequential victory that gives them the feeling they could have beaten the Italian champions had the referee from the first leg not used at the Greco-Roman wrestling rulebook rather than the more traditional football one. 78 per cent of all match bets have gone on tonight’s hosts and even though they’re 8/1 outsiders, Celtic are attracting a mere 19 per cent of bets.
There’s a little more hope being shown when it comes to the Correct Score market. Although Juve are a popular choice to win by scorelines of 2-0, 3-0 and 3-1, there are some hopeless optimists out there who are contemplating the improbable.
Celtic to win 3-0 and take the tie to extra time may seem about as likely as Harry Styles going out with a woman around his own age, but it’s the fourth most popular correct score option. Incredibly, the even more unlikely – we’re talking ‘Alex Ferguson coming out and saying that Nani red card was fair and the referee did well to make a brave decision in front of a hostile crowd’ levels of unlikeliness – choice of Celtic to win 4-0 in normal time, thus sparing themselves the hassle of needing another half an hour of football is the bizarrely well supported fifth most popular choice. We’ll see how that one pans out.