Barcelona v Celtic: I’m hoping for 14 heroes at Camp Nou – Lennon
Barcelona v Celtic: Neil Lennon is hoping to see 14 heroes at the Camp Nou in the Champions League group stage on Tuesday
Neil Lennon has urged Celtic to produce a “heroic” performance against Barcelona in their Champions League encounter at Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
The 41-year-old was part of the Celtic side that ousted Barça in the Uefa Cup fourth round in 2004, winning 1-0 at Parkhead and securing a goalless draw in Cataluña.
Lennon, whose side are three points clear at the top of the SPL, admitted Lionel Messi was the obvious threat but the Hoops boss urged his players to rise to the occasion.
“It was a privilege to watch Messi play on Saturday,” he said. “I don’t think I could come up with any superlative to do the man justice.
“I’m hoping to have 14 heroes tomorrow night,” he said.
“We have pace and technical ability and came off a good result at the weekend. This is a great challenge for the players and one they should embrace.”
He added: “This is the ultimate test away from home.
“We have nothing to lose, but we’re not here for a holiday or the tourist attractions. We’re here for the football.
“We haven’t budgeted for anything from this game, but who knows?
“Players need to show character, mental strength and play to the best of their abilities to overcome what is probably the best team in the world.”
Barcelona v Celtic: Pre-match facts
• Henrik Larsson struck against his old club when Barcelona won 3-1 at Celtic in the 2004-05 Champions League group stage. Lennon appeared along with Valdes, Puyol and Xavi and all four were present in the Camp Nou return, together with Andres Iniesta, a 60th-minute substitute. It finished 1-1.
• Barcelona got the better of Celtic once more in the 2007-08 round of 16. Despite falling behind twice to goals from Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Barry Robson, they eventually won the first leg in Glasgow 3-2 as Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry struck. Xavi hit the only goal of the second leg.
• Barcelona are unbeaten in 17 European home outings, winning 14, dating back to a 2-1 reverse against Rubin Kazan on 20 October 2009.
• Celtic have not won on 12 previous trips to Spain, recording three draws and nine defeats. Their most recent visit brought a 2-0 loss at Atletico Madrid in last season’s Europa League group stage.