Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi insists Celtic are the favourites for this week’s Europa League showdown at Parkhead.

The Rome giants were boosted by staging a remarkable comeback in their Serie A game at home to Atalanta where they were three goals down at half time, before battling back to gain a 3-3 draw thanks to two penalties by in-form hitman Ciro Immobile and a goal from strike partner Joaquin Correa.

Celtic, meanwhile, had the perfect prearation for the game by easing to a 6-0 romp against Ross County, and Inzaghi admits he has been impressed with the Parkhead side both domestically and in their European campaign this season.

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Inzaghi said: “Celtic are a strong team. We know the stadium will be full of their passionate supporters and we expect a great atmosphere.

“We need to be at our best in Glasgow. We have to ignore the noise and focus on our own game. Celtic will play with a high tempo – all Scottish teams play with physicality and pace. So we know what’s coming.

“If you look at the matches so far in our group, Celtic have enjoyed the best results so far. They are sitting top of the group and deservedly so. They are also doing well as usual in the Scottish league.

“They are favourites for this game I think because they are top of the group. I know it will be a huge test for my players.”

Italy manager Roberto Mancini, however, has warned Celtic that facing star striker Immobile is like playing against a combination of Italian legends Paolo Rossi and Toto Schillaci.

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Immobile has now netted six goals in his last four games for the Serie A giants.

Mancini said: “Ciro is playing so well just now. He reminds me of both Paolo Rossi and Toto Schillaci in the way he plays.

“He is scoring a lot of goals just now and is a player in top form.

“It’s not just his goals, his movement is terrific and he can and will score against any team. I hope that continues right up until the European Championship next year.”

And Immobile has told Celtic that the extraordinary weekend comeback was exactly the boost they needed ahead of their trip to Glasgow. 

Immobile said: “We had to keep our heads high. Our manager is very good at saying what needs to be said without raising his voice.

“When you are in a position like that, it’s not about technique, it’s about character and that has to come from the older heads in the team and I include myself in that. And I can honestly say that recovering from three goals down to get a point was actually more inspiring than winning a game. In many ways, it feels better than a victory.

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“Coming back from a scoreline like that has given us an extra spark and extra motivation for the trip to Scotland.

“Of course, before we go to play Celtic we will have to study and analyse our first-half performance which was completely unacceptable. We approached the game in the wrong manner and got what we deserved against a very good side.

“But we’ve been handed a real injection of confidence by coming back. We have proved we will never give up.”

Meanwhile, Lazio have appealed to UEFA to overturn their partial stadium closure for the return clash with Celtic next month after banning 20 of their own fans.

European football’s governing body ordered Lazio close their Curva Nord section of their Stadio Olimpico ground – where their notorious Ultras gather – for the game against Celtic after being found guilty of their fans making fascist salutes during their game against Rennes.

Their supporters criticised the punishment because they insist it hands Celtic and their expected 10,000 travelling supporters an unfair advantage. Lazio responded by pleading with their fans to behave in future.

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Lazio handed the case over to Italy’s General Investigations and Special Operations Division – a law enforcement agency charged with investigating terrorism and organised crime.

And they responded by pinpointing 20 of their fans, with six of them under 16 years of age, and have dished out bans.

Now Lazio will appeal to UEFA to reverse the decision because they have taken decisive action to root out the culprits.

Lazio have also revealed they will closely be monitoring 1500 of their own fans who will travel to Scotland this week for the tie against Celtic.