Posted on Wednesday, 6th March 2013 by admin
Celtic‘s trip to Turin tonight will almost certainly be our last participation in this year’s Champions League – barring the miracle of turning Juve over – and I fervently hope we exit with our heads held high, and not on the end of a heavy defeat. Our performance in the first leg was very poor, and even though the referee had an…indifferent game, that doesn’t take away from the fact that individual errors cost us very badly.
It will be interesting to see how Celtic line-up, as to have even a glimmer of hope we have to attack and try to score goals – but I just don’t see that happening. To really go for it, Stokes, Hooper and Samaras would all have to start – and that won’t happen. Despite Stokes’ great form he’ll be back on the bench tonight. Joe Ledley – who has of course left out of the first game – has responded with his best form of the season and seems a certainty to start. Juve will also have to deal with our star Big Cup performer Georgios Samaras, who of course missed the first game. The return of Charlie Mulgrew from injury is interesting, as Lennon could either put him at left-back to replace the very out of form Emilio Izaguirre, or he could put him at center-half alongside Kelvin Wilson. James Forrest seems certain to start as he has created the last three goals Celtic have scored. On the downside, we will still be without Scott Brown and Mikael Lustig, two of our most important players.
If tonight is the last game, it has in all honesty been a great campaign by Celtic, one which few of us would could have predicted. I’m not one of Neil Lennon’s biggest fans – as readers of the site will now – but he has enhanced his reputation with the team’s performances, especially the wins against Barcelona and Spartak. Of course, with the SPL title almost won, thoughts will soon begin to turn to next season’s Big Cup campaign, one which will start even earlier than this year as we will have to negotiate three qualifying rounds. Let’s hope we are prepared for that, and any new signings are bedded into the team. As for tomorrow, if we get away with a draw I’d be delighted, but I’d settle – for once – for a narrow defeat which allows us to exit the competition with our heads held high.