Aiden McGeady backs Celtic to knock Zenit out of the Europa League

A defeated Aiden McGeady of the Republic of Ireland applauds the crowd after the EURO 2016 Group D Qualifier match between Scotland and Republic of Ireland at Celtic Park on November 14,...

Celtic play host to Zenit St. Petersburg on Thursday night.

(ISRAEL OUT)  Aiden McGeady of Celtic in action during the UEFA Europa League Group C match between Hapoel Tel Aviv and Celtic on September 17, 2009 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Celtic icon Aiden McGeady has told the club's official website that he expects his former side to knock Zenit St. Petersburg out of the Europa League, as the two sides meet on Thursday for the first leg.

Brendan Rodgers' side play host to Roberto Mancini's men at Celtic Park in the Europa League Round of 32, with the Hoops desperate to earn an advantage at home before going to Russia in a week's time.

Zenit have not been in action for two months due to the winter break, but resume their domestic action in early March and Celtic could use that to their advantage after already playing six games this calendar year.

Spartak Moscow's Irish midfielder Aiden McGeady controls the ball during in a training session at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on December 4, 2012 ahead of his team's UEFA Champions...

McGeady, who clocked up 193 Celtic appearances before moving to Russia with Spartak Moscow in 2010, did state that Zenit boast plenty of cash reserves and a strong squad but is confident Celtic can progress.

“It’ll be a difficult game, especially the away leg,” McGeady said. "Obviously they’ve got lots of money, a strong team and a good manager but you could say the same about Celtic in relative terms as well.

“Celtic have good momentum under Brendan Rodgers so they’re capable getting past them. It’s difficult to say, though, because Zenit are a bit of an unknown quantity. There’s no doubt it’ll be a really interesting game and as long as Celtic play to their best, they can progress.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers arrives at the stadium prior to the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Ranger at Celtic Park on December 30, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Celtic will be without a number of first-team stars as the treatment room becomes inundated with crocked players. Nir Bitton has been ruled out for the rest of the season, the latest of a long lost of casualties.

The versatile Israel international joins Craig Gordon, Anthony Ralston, Dedryck Boyata, Marvin Compper, Stuart Armstrong, Paddy Roberts, Jonny Hayes and Leigh Griffiths on the sidelines.

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