No one said management was easy. Neil Lennon has spent the best part of a year preparing for this game. The scouts were told to go out and find pace up front which would allow us to defend in numbers but break effectively when possible.
That plan brought Derk Boerrigter and Teemu Pukki to the club but Derk has only recently returned from injury while Teemu made his debut on Saturday. Meanwhile, Anthony Stokes has been busy making himself the heart of the team. If Anthony was having a stinker of a season Neil Lennon would deploy the plan which has been long in gestation, but, unlike his opposite number tonight, Neil has genuine choice.
Before kick-off, there is no correct decision to this choice, hindsight will provide that answer, but we should remember that this is a squad game. Players tire and performance falls late in the game. Nine years ago we were within touching distance of a great result away to Milan but attempts to shore up the defence in the closing minutes failed. If Celtic are in a position to take something from the game, they will have to plan for a 95 minute endurance exercise.
The margins for error in this competition are slight. We matched Juventus in many areas of the field last season but were walloped 5-0 on aggregate. Some fine teams found the step up to the big stage a harrowing experience last night but other smaller clubs got it right; Copenhagen made Italian champions, Juve, look ordinary.
The task ahead is formidable but get the plan right and the spoils are there for us.
Prediction: 0-2 to the good guys. Enjoy your night.
1254125 at The Great Scottish Run.
On Sunday 6 October there is a 10k and Half Marathon. If that is beyond you. There are family events taking place the day before. This is your club, remind the world of what really counts and get involved in 1254125.
Once you’ve done that, you can register for the 1254125 campaign here.
Then you can create a donations page here. Click Start Fundraising, search for Celtic Charity, setup your My Donate account).
Email me and let me know if you are having trouble signing up or need any more help, email@example.com.
To read the new issue of CQN Magazine click here (don’t try to read the graphic below).
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