Michael Owen delivers Rangers and Celtic verdicts ahead of key Europa League double-header

Michael Owen has forecast mixed fortunes for the two Old Firm clubs in tonight’s Europa League group stage action.

Michael Owen. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Michael Owen. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The Glaswegian duo go into their respective clashes on Thursday boasting wholly different records in the competition so far.

Rangers have won their opening two matches and sit second in their group on goal difference alone, while Celtic are still searching for a first continental victory of the campaign.

Rangers: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Rangers: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

But former England international Owen believes that Neil Lennon’s side will finally find their groove against Sparta Prague this evening.

Speaking to Bet Victor, he said: “Celtic are in search of their first Europa League victory of the season. They welcome Slavia Prague to Parkhead here on what is a must win game for the Celts if they have ambitions of qualifying from the group.

"Despite throwing away a 2-goal lead, the home side were good for the majority of their 2-2 draw against Lille last week, and if they can find their rhythm in this, I think they can take the points.”

The pundit has predicted a 2-1 win for the hosts.

For their part, Rangers face a tricky away trip to Benfica, and Owen is less optimistic about the Gers’ chances of extending their winning run on the continent.

He said: “Rangers got there in the end against Lech Poznan to make it two wins from two in this year’s Europa League.

"Themselves and Benfica both go into this as joint Group D leaders, so something has to give.

"Benfica have looked excellent at times so far, and I think they may have too much for the Glaswegian’s here.”

Owen predicts a 2-1 Rangers defeat.