Celtic v Astra Giurgiu: A guide to the Romanians

Astra Giurgiu defeated Lyon to secure a place in Europa League Group D
Astra Giurgiu defeated Lyon to secure a place in Europa League Group D
Europa League: Celtic v Astra Giurgiu
Date: Thursday, 23 October Venue: Celtic Park Kick-off: 20:05 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW and DAB digital radio, live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Play their cards right, and Celtic could wrap up Europa League Group D against Astra Giurgiu.

That's because they've got them in a double-header, home then away.

So Ronny Deila's men could be sitting pretty on 10 points before having to think about hosting Austrians Salzburg or flying to Croatia to face Dinamo Zagreb.

But they can't be complacent.

Although they've being doing pretty poorly of late, the Romanians dumped French side Lyon out on their way to a place in Group D.

Yes, that's Lyon who reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2010.

So, here's five things you might want to know about Astra Giurgiu...

The manager

Ukrainian Oleg Protasov is still settling into his new office after just being appointed boss at Astra Giurgiu earlier in October.

The 50-year-old has already managed in Romania, having been in charge of Steaua Bucharest in 2005.

Oleg Protasov has drawn his only match in charge of Astra Giurgiu
Oleg Protasov has drawn his only match in charge of Astra Giurgiu

A former Soviet Union international as player, Protasov also counts Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus as countries he's managed in.

And he'll need all the experience he can muster because, over the last 20 years, Astra Giurgiu have changed manager approximately every six months on average.

The Celtic match will be Protasov's second game in charge, having drawn his first one - a league match.

The top goalscorers

Midfielder Constantin Budescu only just leads the way at the top of Astra Giurgiu's scoring charts so far this season, with four goals.

But what Constantin must front up to is that three of those came in the one match - a hat-trick in a 5-0 league mauling of Uni Craiova.

Midfielder Constantin Budescu hit a hat-trick earlier this season
Midfielder Constantin Budescu hit a hat-trick earlier this season

Astra's next three top scorers also operate in the middle of the park - Ghanaian Sadat Bukari, Romanaian Gabriel Enache and Japanese Takayuki Seto - all on three goals.

Barry Ferguson's former team-mate

Elliot Grandin's stint beside the seaside at Blackpool between 2010 and 2014 rarely yielded much positive for him to write home to France about.

But he did have the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson on a regular basis.

Elliot Grandin scored on his debut for Astra Giurgiu
Elliot Grandin scored on his debut for Astra Giurgiu

After his release from Lancashire in the summer, the 27-year-old midfielder wound up in Romania with Astra Giurgiu.

It didn't take him long to make a good impression there - scoring on his debut against Rapid Bucharest in August.

The win-less streak

While Celtic got back on track with a 5-0 thumping of Ross County in Dingwall, Astra Giurgiu have been floundering for over a month.

The Romanians' last victory was in mid-September and they've drawn two, lost two since.

Astra Giurgiu have been getting used to watching opponents celebrating recently
Astra Giurgiu have been getting used to watching opponents celebrating recently

So securing a first win in five matches will offer some sort of motivation for Protasov's men.

People may say Celtic Park is hardly the place to get it, but Hamilton Accies may just have something to say about that having won there for the first time in over 70 years earlier this month.

And you'll get a lot of mileage out of car puns...

Commentators, presenters, journalists, parents......they'll all be at it pre-, during and post-match.

It'll be 'cavalier approach' this and 'nothing left in the tank' that.

At the very least, our Romanian friends Astra Giurgiu provide material for some terrible gags and headlines.

In fact, why not tweet us yours using the hashtag #bbcscotfootball. We're waiting....

Cars
FC Astra provide all the pun material you could ever wish for

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