Tonight Celtic face the task of qualifying for the last sixteen of the Europa League. FC Copenhagen stand in their way but after earning a 1-1 draw in Denmark they will feel positive about ensuring qualification at Celtic Park.
Celtic have faltered at this stage of the Europa League every time, but this has also been their best display in the competition in our history. Having lost only one of their group stage games, they finished top of their group having won 4/6 games including home and away to Lazio.
Neil Lennon can feel both pleased and confident about that. The match in Denmark was literally a game of two halves and probably a justified scoreline in the end.
You might argue that Celtic should have scored more in the first half or that Copenhagen should have scored their VAR awarded penalty. At the end of the day, you just have to do your best and I am confident Celtic’s best is enough to get the result we need.
This evening, Celtic must go about their business in the way that they have for most of this season. The last sixteen is uncharted territory for Scottish clubs and all going well, Celtic will be in their alongside their city rivals.
Despite all our verbal battles off the field and physical battles on the field, you have to give credit to our rivals across the city for making earning a place last night in Portugal. They pushed us in the league up until Christmas only to have fallen away since the new year, but now they have booked a place in the next round of the Europa League.
That has to be commended. Will Celtic feel the pressure of that?
No. Celtic have their own pressure.
If they feel anything from last night’s win it might be simply inspired. Not that Celtic are in the same position, but two Scottish clubs in the last sixteen would be massive for our game in Scotland.
However, we cannot underestimate the Danes. Unlike us they have reached the last sixteen before and given their second half efforts on home soil they will be geared up to try and shock Celtic.
There are some nerves out there in the Celtic community this morning. I think this comes directly from our city rivals reaching the last sixteen first and in challenging circumstances when they were expected to fail.
As I said though, that should inspire not raise concern. We have reason to doubt Neil Lennon this team.
They blazed a trail to this stage. We can go beyond this by doing the job right.
Neil Lennon won’t be taking anything for granted. You can be sure of that.
We have a couple of key players out, but we still have a match day squad capable of winning on home soil tonight. This will be an epic game and I will be thinking about little else today.
What formation will we go for? Who will be in the starting eleven?
Get ready for a big night. All the best Bhoys.