Celtic v Barcelona: Neil Lennon hoping for ‘special evening’
Celtic v Barcelona: Hoops manager Neil Lennon is hoping to cap a "a very special evening" with a positive result at Parkhead
Neil Lennon is hoping Celtic will cap “a very special evening” by getting a positive result against Barcelona on the 125th anniversary of the Scottish club’s formation.
The reigning SPL champions were denied a famous point at the Camp Nou a fortnight ago when Jordi Alba scored a late winner in stoppage time to help Barcelona secure a 2-1 victory.
With Celtic lying in second place in Group A, Lennon is hoping to pick up at least a point ahead of their final two games against Benfica and CSKA Moscow.
“It will be a very special evening. It’ll be a Champions League game, we’ll play probably the best team in the world and it’s the anniversary of the club,” Lennon said.
“I have watched Barcelona on many occasions. In recent away games, Barcelona dominate possession to the point where it’s 70/30.
“We have no reason to expect to have possession – we accept we’ll concede ground and the ball at times because they are the best in the world at keeping possession.”
He added: “If we get something out of the game, it’ll give us a strong foothold in the group. We want to get a positive result. We know it’s going to be hugely difficult.”
Celtic v Barcelona: 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.
• Celtic have upheld their traditionally strong home form this term, beating Helsinki and Helsingborgs in qualifying before a 0-0 draw with Benfica.
• With their 2-0 win at Benfica last time out, Barcelona have won 12 and lost just three of their last 25 Champions League away fixtures.