I don’t buy into the “Anything better than a 0-3 defeat” talk; we need a win tonight. If you want to be taken seriously as a Champions League team, you have to win occasionally on the road (check), and rack up victories against vulnerable opposition, as Anderlecht are right now.
The victory in Brussels in September was a huge achievement. We needed to start winning games away from home in this competition after so many years of failure. Our single away victory, by Neil Lennon’s team, in Moscow, is most remarkable for its rarity. In truth, we should have beaten 10-man Anderlecht in 2003, and don’t get me started on Aalborg, or several others.
So this Celtic team has already recorded a memorable achievement in this competition, but more needs to be done, not just for Celtic, but for the manager.
Brendan has 17 Champions League group stage games under his belt, but only two wins, that game in Brussels and a victory for Liverpool at home to Bulgarians, Ludogorets Razgrad. It is a record he will be desperate to improve, starting tonight.
Anderlecht are not the team we faced in September. They now have an excellent manager, Hein Vanhaezebrouck, who in a single season as manager of Gent, recorded Champions League group stage wins against Zent St Petersburg, Lyon and Valencia, eliminating the latter two in the process.
I’ve been tracking Vanhaezebrouck since his Gent days and have become a bit of a fan boy. Yesterday’s comments from the Celtic Park media room lived up to expectations:
“I can already predict what’s going to happen tomorrow. There will be noise as soon as we come on the pitch. The crowd will be behind them and they will fly like hell!
“The start will be devastating. If we can survive and stay level, then maybe we stand a chance to do something.”
You heard the man, there will be noise and we will fly like hell! Let’s do it.
Jim Craig live on CQN Wednesday evening
Lisbon Lion, Jim Craig, will be live on CQN from 6.30 until around 8.30 tomorrow evening for a Q&A session and to spend time with us. His new book, Right Back to 67, published by CQN, recalls his memories from inside the dressing room during that iconic year.
Let’s hope Jim is reflecting on a great win over Anderlecht.
*JIM CRAIG – RIGHT BACK TO 67, THE LISBON LION DIARY is published this week by CQN Books. You still have time to get a SIGNED copy by ordering at www.cqnbookstore.co.uk and if you would like a personal dedication added to your book by Jim then simply email your massage to firstname.lastname@example.org after ordering and we’ll do the rest!
And if you haven’t done so already, listen to Jim Craig on the CQN Podcast below. You will love it!