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Ahead of next week’s group of games in the UEFA Champions League, Celtic fans have already started to fret about what Tuesday/Wednesday could bring about.
Those going to the increasingly anticipated match v Barcelona could either leave absolutely shattered or absolutely elated. For those who don’t follow the Glasgow side, I think you know which route the Celtic supporters will probably be taking.
But in football, absolutely anything can happen; as we all saw in the Germany and Sweden World Cup Qualifying match. Maybe the unthinkable can be achieved at Camp Nou.
For Celtic, this will be the match of their lives. Playing Barcelona at Camp Nou is a suicide mission, especially for the Glasgow side who has never had to compete against a skilfully elite team such as Barcelona.
Fraser Forster has never come up against a talented gifted striker like Messi, Charlie Mulgrew and Emilio Izaguirre don’t have players like Iniesta and Xavi to fight against and Gary Hooper could never imagine having a “shaggy dog” like Puyol to fly past in the SPL.
But Barcelona shouldn’t undermine this Celtic side. A team like Celtic aren’t used to losing, especially playing in a league like the SPL where they don’t have any serious competition. With a mindset like the Scottish team possess, they won’t be giving up easily – and this is definitely a game Neil Lennon wants to seal.
Yet Barcelona play against teams like Real Madrid and Valencia week in and week out, which keep the team on their toes. The contrast between the La Liga and the Scottish Premier League is huge. The La Liga feature world class teams and is majorly competitive, while the SPL possess teams who, well, can’t beat Celtic.
Celtic are definitely going into this game as the under dogs. What the fans don’t want to be seeing is The Bhoys “park the bus”. Personally as a supporter of the club, we want to see the boys fight for the three points.
We want to see the boys attack with the passion of lions and defend with hearts of steel. Yes, we are going up against a team considered one of the best in the world – but that’s all psychological. If Celtic thinks like that, then they’re going to lose against one of the greatest teams in the La Liga.
If they go in with confident attitudes and positive determination, then they stand a good chance against Barcelona.
But wait! Let’s rewind back to 2004. Remember the stunning victory against Barcelona? “The Beating of Barcelona” will always remain in the memories of Celtic supporters. Celtic reached the quarter finals of the UEFA cup after defeating Barcelona 0-1 on aggregate.
Celtic held on 0-0 against Barcelona at Camp Nou through a fantastic and breath taking performance by non-other than David Marshall. It was the youngster’s third senior game with the club and he held off the likes of Ronaldinho and Luis Enrique. If Celtic ever needed an edge, this renowned game is what they need.
Neil Lennon is hoping that Scott Brown and James Forrest will be fit for the Barcelona match as they both suffered injuries during the international break
“James did his groin in training with the Scotland squad and Scott, as you know, has this ongoing problem”, said the Hoops manager.
“I felt he was playing very well against Wales but obviously he couldn’t continue after half-time so we are assessing him as we go along. We are hoping (he will be fit for Barca), this weekend may be too soon for them but they might have a chance for Tuesday.”
So, can Celtic repeat their runs of 1967 and 1970? Can they pull off another spectacular victory against Barcelona? With only 2 points behind Barcelona and 3 points in front of Benfica, they could very well progress through to the last 16.
Football is a game where unexpected surprises and startling blunders often occur – Barcelona v Celtic will be no exception.
Written by Siobhan Pedroza
Follow her on Twitter @briefcase_wanka
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