However, they may claim that they are in the greatest possible position to boost their continental fortunes after collecting back-to-back league victories for the first time this season in the lead-up to this match, although either side of the international break.
Those two wins were also their only clean sheets from seven starts in all competitions since reaching the group stage, and whilst they were both against mid-to-lower table Cypriot clubs, it could nonetheless be a sign of positive progression.
This game now heralds Neil Lennon’s managerial debut against Manchester United after 12 contests as a player (W3, D3, L6), including two Champions League encounters for Celtic.
It will also be a debut of sorts for United as they step onto Cypriot soil for the first time, but they demonstrated prior to the international break that new surroundings are no issue for them when accounting for Sheriff Tiraspol 2-0 in their inaugural trip to Moldova.
As the only current UEL group stage team to have previously won the title (2016/17), the English giants will be keen to continue asserting their authority after losing at home to Real Sociedad on the opening matchday.
There may also be the need to project the frustrations of a humiliating 3-6 Manchester derby defeat onto a weaker opposition – a result that kept them out of a coveted 2023/24 Champions League spot for the moment.
Despite that weekend loss United will certainly make this a tough encounter, and local fans will likely be eager and hoping to see United legend Cristiano Ronaldo, who appears to now be a continental specialist after his last two starts for the club were in this competition.