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Friday, 18 January, 2019

St Johnstone should have the advantage

St Johnstone celebrate a goal
1 of 1

Europa League first qualifying-round, first leg
Matches from 1pm Thursday

St Johnstone have been involved in Europa League qualifying four times in the last five years without ever reaching the group stage, and they begin their 2017-18 challenge at home to Lithuanian side FK Trakai (7.45pm).

The Perth outfit fell at the first hurdle last season - losing on away goals to Armenian outfit Alashkert - and are hampered by the absence of experienced captain Steven Anderson, who misses out with a knee injury.

Anderson's absence from the defence is a blow against attack-minded Trakai, who are second in the Lithuanian standings having scored 14 goals in their last six matches during a run of four wins and two draws.

Trakai could grab an away goal but St Johnstone look the stronger of the two sides and should take a lead into next Thursday's second leg.

Danish side Midtjylland are one of the strongest teams in the first qualifying-round draw and should have too much quality for Derry City at the MCH Arena (7pm).

Midtjylland reached the Europa League knockout stages in 2015-16 and gave Manchester United a scare - beating the Red Devils 2-1 in the home leg of the round of 32 before going on to lose 6-3 on aggregate.

They are likely to be fit enough given the Danish season starts in mid-July, and should soon be in command against Derry, who are fifth in the League of Ireland Premier Division, 27 points behind leaders Cork.

St Johnstone win and both teams to score
1pt 11-5 Betway, BoyleSports, Hills
Midtjylland-Midtjylland double result
1pt 4-6 Coral, Ladbrokes

Bet on the Europa League at

Trakai could grab an away goal but St Johnstone look the stronger of the two sides
E.W. Terms
Sky bet