Scottish giants Celtic have been rewarded for their Champions League exploits with a high-profile clash against Barcelona. Celtic have had a remarkable run in the Champions League this season. Gordon Strachan’s side have been exceptional at home, winning all three ties at Parkhead. A 2-1 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk, where Massimo Donati netted a stoppage time winner, confirmed their place in the last 16 and Scott McDonald struck an injury time winner against Serie A giants AC Milan earlier in the group. Celtic must make their home advantage count if they are to progress even further in this competition because their away form in Europe is dreadful. The Bhoys found themselves 2-0 down after just eight minutes in their opening match at Shakhtar, lost to a late goal at Benfica and were also defeated 1-0 at AC Milan in their final group match. Celtic and Barcelona met in the Group stage of this competition in the 2004/05 season, where the Scottish side earned a credible 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp, before losing 3-1 at home in the return fixture. They faired better when they met in the UEFA Cup the season before, drawing 0-0 in Spain and then winning 1-0 at Parkhead to seal a fourth round aggregate victory. Barcelona have underachived in La Liga this season but are beginning to close the gap on leaders Real Madrid. A 2-1 victory at Real Zaragoza on the weekend saw them cut the lead at the top of the league to just five points after Madrid lost to strugglers Real Betis. Barcelona are no slouches in the Champions League and went through the group stage undefeated, winning four and drawing two matches. It was away from home they dropped points, drawing at Rangers and Lyon but the 2005-06 winners of this competition are deadly at home, beating Lyon 3-0, VfB Stuttgart 3-1 and Rangers 2-0. Celtic are a team of extreme performances in the Champions League. At home, you would fancy them to beat anybody, as they proved when they defeated current holders AC Milan in the group stage. If they are to progress further in this competition then they must beat Barcelona at Parkhead because their away record in Europe is dire. Barcelona have performed well in the tournament so far and are unbeaten in six group matches. They ground out a goalless draw at Rangers in their group match and will know what Scottish opponents are all about. This could end all square, with a spirited performance from the home side.
© Copyright The Red Warriors fc. All Rights Reserved.