Well, I can answer that question. It will be in this seasons ChampionsLleague and of course, I am referring to this years opposition in our group.
Barcelona, Ajax and AC Milan is the group of champions. AC Milan have described it as the Group of Nobility.
Lionel Messi has described Celtic Park as having the best atmosphere of any football ground that he’s played in. Prior to the draw, Mario Balotelli was quoted as saying that he would like to avoid Celtic in this years Champions League.
What does this tell us? It tells us that teams are wary of playing against Celtic. When Champions League results come through, people notice them. Last season, football fans throughout Europe and the world will have noticed how good our record was.
Teams throughout Europe know that if they come to Parkhead, they are going to get a very tough and uncomfortable time.
I would never claim to fully understand the UEFA co-effcient ratings, but I did have a look at the other teams from ‘pot 4′, which was the ‘pot’ that included Celtic.
Copenhagen, Napoli, Anderlechet, Steaua Bucharest, Viktoria Plzen, Real Sociedad and Austria Wien. As much as I don’t think any of our opponents would admit it to the public, I am pretty certain that we are the team from that pot that all three of them would have preferred to avoid.
I know after a European game at Celtic Park, I often feel tired so I can only imagine how much it must take away from the opposition players. I am usually sitting on my backside with a pie in my hand which isn’t usually a tiring activity. They have to play a game of football whilst all this mayhem is happening round about them.
Like last years group stages, there is a possibility that we could end up with no points, there’s also a possibility of us qualifying from the group stages to get back into the last 16.
Perhaps knowing that we may lose every match is what makes the Champions League so intriguing. It’s not like a league match where we look at who played badly and what was wrong with tactics when we lose. In a domestic match, we usually spend a long time trying to work out why we lost a game. In European football, we have the unusual part of being the smaller,less able team.
On paper, we are playing against a superior opposition but thankfully, football isn’t played on paper.
There’s so many factors that have to be taken into account, mainly the fans at Celtic Park. I have no ideas what happens to opposition players but I do remember reading an extract from Henrik Larsson’s book which stated a Barcelona player was physically sick in the tunnel prior to playing us. I don’t think the player in question was unwell or hungover either. It was the noise that was filtering down the tunnel to them.